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Edmund Burke's Letter to a noble lord; 



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A LETTER TO A NOBLE LORD 




(After a painting by RoM^"E^^) 



EDMUND BURKE'S 

LETTER 

TO A NOBLE LORD 

Edited with Introduction and Notes 

BY 

ALBERT H. SMYTH 

fROFESSOR OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE 

IN THE PHILADELPHIA HIGH SCHOOL 

MEMBER OF THE AMERICAN PHILOSOPHICAL. SOCIETY 



BOSTON, U.S.A. 

GINN & COMPANY, PUBLISHERS 

Cbe 9ltl)en«nin preect 

1903 



Copyright, i8g8 
By albert H. SMYTH 

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 



PREFACE. 



The " Letter to a Noble Lord " is the best possible 
introduction to the study of Burke. It has brevity, force, 
and variety, and there is not a dull page in it. It may be 
made the subject of historical, biographical, and literary 
study. It is a clear and calm review of the great political 
measures of Burke's public career ; it is a proud and suffi- 
cient apologia ; and it is a masterpiece of golden eloquence. 
Alike in argument and irony, Burke rises in this instance 
to the height of his skill and fame. He speaks poniards, 
and every word stabs. Nor are the faults of his later man- 
ner' so painfully apparent here as in the " Reflections on the 
French Revolution," which preceded the "Letter," and in 
the "Regicide Peace," which followed it. 

The student of style should be taught to compare Burke's 
architecture of sentence and paragraph with the robust 
prose of Dryden and the pretentious manner of Bolingbroke. 
And he may institute a profitable comparison between this 
" Letter " and Wordsworth's superb pamphlet upon " The 
Convention of Cintra " — one of the crowning glories of 
English prose literature — and Cardinal Newman's " Apolo- 
gia pro vita sua," both of which derive from Burke their 
inspiration and their splendor. 

It will be seen that Burke always rests his case upon his- 
tory. Tradition and expediency are the lamps by which his 
feet are guided. In this respect, though certainly in no 
other, he resembles the German Hamann — whom Pusey 



VI PREFACE. 

ranked among the unintelligibles — who accepted, above all 
documents of human reason and analysis, the institutions 
and measures authenticated by history. 

Lest the student should be "lantern led" by the rhetoric 
of Burke, it is well that the text of the " Letter " should be 
abundantly illustrated and corrected by reference to histori- 
cal sources. From the wealth of easily accessible material, 
I may be permitted to recommend the histories of England 
by Lord Mahon (from the Treaty of Utrecht to the Peace 
of Versailles), John Adolphus (from the Accession of 
George III to 1783), and William Massey (England during 
the reign of George III) ; the "Grenville Papers," "The 
Bedford Correspondence," "The Journals of Lord Auck- 
land," " Memoirs of Rockingham," " Diary and " Corre- 
spondence of Lord Colchester," Brougham's " Statesmen of 
the Reign of George III," "Parliamentary History," "The 
Annual Register," Alison's " History of .Europe " (or at 
least the Epitome thereof), the " Memoirs and Letters " of 
Horace Walpole, Fox's " Letters and Speeches," Wilkes's 
" North Briton, "the " Letters of Junius " and the " Satires " 
of Churchill. 

The bearing of the " Letter " upon the circumstances of 
Burke's life will be found fully set forth in the Notes. 

ALBERT H. SMYTH. 



INTRODUCTION. 



Edmund Burke is sometimes ranked first among the 
writers of English prose of the eighteenth century. There is 
something imperial in his style. His sonorous sentences 
roll and toss in profuse and majestic eloquence. His 
thought streams from him, an impetuous and abundant tor- 
rent. His resplendent rhetoric surges forward with the 
pomp and state and endless barbaric variety of a Roman 
triumph. 

His eagerness and exuberance betrayed him at times 
into grave faults of manner. His early and successful 
imitation of Bolingbroke — by no means a flawless model — 
set a permanent mark upon him. The high virtues of simplic- 
ity and sobriety are not his. In imagination and expres- 
sion he is magnificent, in the proudest sense of that much 
misapplied term; but his literary taste is not absolutely 
pure, nor his sense of proportion true, and his style is often 
overheated. 

Whatever the place to which he may be entitled among 
the masters of English prose, it is not likely that any writer 
will take precedence of him for subtle political wisdom and 
serious and fruitful reflection upon the principles of govern- 
ment and legislation. 

Mr. John Morley has said of Burke's three pieces on the 
American War : " They are an example without fault of all 
the qualities which the critic, whether a theorist or an actor, 
of great political situations should strive by night and by day 
to possess. If their subject were as remote as the quarrel 



VUl IXTRODUCTIOX. 

between the Corinthians and Corcyra, or the war between 
Rome and the allies, instead of a conflict to which the world 
owes the opportunity of the most important of political 
experiments, we should still have everything to learn from 
the author's treatment, — the vigorous grasp of masses of com- 
pressed detail, the wide illumination from great principles of 
human experience, the strong and masculine feeling for the 
two great political ends of Justice and Freedom, the large 
and generous interpretation of expediency, the morality, the 
vision, the noble temper." ■" 

However transient, commonplace, or personal the theme, 
Burke never left it without investing it with the splendor 
of history or introducing into it considerations drawn 
from the widest range of political institutions. Now that 
the violence of party strife has abated, and the figures 
and events of one hundred years ago may be impartially 
studied, it is unlikely that there should be any dissent from 
Mr. Lecky's opinion : " No other politician or writer has 
thrown the light of so penetrating a genius on the nature and 
working of the British Constitution, has impressed his prin- 
ciples so deeply on both of the great parties in the State, 
and has left behind him a richer treasure of political wisdom 
applicable to all countries and to all times. . . . There is per- 
haps no English prose writer since Bacon whose works are 
so thickly starred with thought. The time may come when 
they will be no longer read. The time will never come in 
which men would not grow the wiser by reading them," ^ 

The " Letter to a Noble Lord " is a superb example of 
Burke's gorgeous rhetoric, and of his high handling of a 
personal and transient theme. "The most splendid repartee 
in the English language," says John Morley ; and Mr. Gosse 
pronounces it " the most typical of Burke's writings, the 

1 Morley, " Burke," p. 1 16. 

^ Lecky, " England in the Eighteenth Century," vol. iii, p. 197. 



INTRODUCTION. ix 

most accomplished and surprising in matter, the most splen- 
did, melodious, and refined in manner." 

It is marked by dignity and elevation ; it is marred by no 
disastrous lapses from good taste and self-possession. It is 
at once the apologia of the proud, weary, broken-hearted 
statesman and the completest condemnation of the political 
fallacies and ethical monstrosities of the French Revolu- 
tion. 

An attack had been made in Parliament upon the pension 
granted by the crown to Edmund Burke. It was the close 
of his life, his son was dead, he was desolate and alone 
in his age. In his reply to his assailants — the Duke of 
Bedford and Lord Lauderdale — Burke reviews his services 
to the state. It is a majestic autobiography. He seems, as 
Mr. Ellis Yarnall has so well said of Wordsworth, to be 
awed by the greatness of his own power. 

The "Letter "was published in London, Feb. 24, 1796, 
and appeared.in the same year in Dublin and in Philadel- 
phia, and was translated into French and German. 

The Anti-Jacobin versified Burke's attack in the " New 
Morality," — 

And thou Leviathan ! on ocean's brim 
Hugest of living things that sleep and swim, 
Thou in whose nose by Burke's gigantic hand 
The hook was fixed to drag thee to the land. 

And Gillray remembered it in his caricature of "the Re- 
publican Rattlesnake Fox fascinating the Bedford Squirrel " 
(Nov. 16, 1796), in which the Duke with unpowdered hair 
and a squirrel's body is falling into the capacious jaws of the 
rattlesnake coiled round the tree. 

A swarm of pamphlets followed in the train of Burke's 
"Letter," containing every kind of answer — for the most 
part abusive and intemperate ^ — and having in them so 



X INTRODUCTION. 

little of real worth as to be undeserving even of record in a 
bibliography. 

In the preparation of the present edition, I have had 
before me the first and the thirteenth London editions, 
the first Dublin edition, and the first American edition, 
edited by William Cobbett (Peter Porcupine) in Phila- 
delphia in 1796, and reprinted in London in 1831, and in 
Edinburgh in 1837. For the sketch of Edmund Burke, 
which contains nothing new, I am indebted to the studies 
of John Morley, Charles Wentworth Dilke, W. E. H. Lecky, 
Edward Dowden, Leslie Stephen, Dr. William Hunt (in 
the "Dictionary of National Biography"), Henry Thomas 
Buckle, and the recent capital essay, " An Interpreter of 
English Liberty," by Prof. Woodrow Wilson (in " Mere 
Literature "). 



LIFE OF BURKE. 



Edmund Burke, the second son of Richard Burke, an 
attorney, was born in Dublin, probably on Jan. 12, 1729. 
His father was a Protestant, his mother a Catholic. 
His first schooling was obtained at Ballitore, County Kil- 
dare, from Abraham Shackleton, a Quaker, for whom Burke 
always entertained the greatest reverence and gratitude as 
for the man who first awakened and directed his intel- 
lect.^ He entered Trinity College — " the silent sister " — 
in 1743, where he conformed little to the habits of the place, 
read desultorily, studied Cicero, and took his bachelor's 
degree at the Spring Commencements, 1748.^ 

His name had been entered the previous year at the 
Middle Temple, and he now proceeded to England to read 
law. For the next few years little is known of him. Indeed, 
from 1752 to 1757 nothing is known with certainty. Dur- 
ing that period, with the exception of a single fragmentary 
letter, not a shred of his correspondence exists. His health 
was weak ; he rambled restlessly about in unknown places ; 
and by his indifference to the study and practice of the 

1 See " Memoirs and Letters of Richard and Elizabeth Shacltleton." 
Compiled by their daughter, Mary Leadbeater, London [new edition], 
1849. ^" affectionate friendship continued through life between 
Burke and his school companion Richard Shackleton. 

2 His scholarship was never exact, and his literary taste was often 
bad, but he was not as ignorant of the classics as he has sometimes 
been represented. Charles James Fox in a letter to Anthony Robinson 
said that Burke knew as much of Greek as men usually do who have 
neglected it since their college days (Dilke, " Papers of a Critic "). 



xu LIFE OF BURKE. 

law so vexed his father that in 1755 his annual allowance 
(;£'ioo) was withdrawn. Here our knowledge of Burke 
at this time ends. There is a curious parallel between the 
lives of the two Irish adventurers Burke and Goldsmith, 
who had been contemporaries at Trinity, though there it is 
unlikely that they ever met, and who about the same time 
came up to London, the one to vanish in the purlieus of 
literature and in doubtful wanderings, the other to " dispute 
his passage through Europe " for a year with a flute, a 
guinea, and one shirt. Benjamin West, who knew Burke 
well, said that there was about him a degree of mystery 
connected with his early life which their long intercourse 
never tended to explain. 

While Burke was proud of his struggle — " nitor in adver- 
sum is the motto for a man like me " — it is probable that 
he shrank from the recollection of his shabby and unhappy 
early years. Perhaps he himself — the last survivor of his 
family — destroyed the letters and documentary evidence 
which related to those days. He chose at all times to keep 
a little solitude about him, and he enjoyed the independence 
and isolation of life in mighty and mysterious London. It 
was in this spirit that he said of the second city in the 
kingdom : " Though I have the honor to represent Bristol, 
I should not like to live there. I should be obliged to be 
so much upon my good behavior." 

It seems that during the early years in London he visited 
the debating clubs, and frequented the theaters, where he 
made the acquaintance of David Garrick. When apologiz- 
ing to his old friend Richard Shackleton for his neglect of 
correspondence, he says : " I have broken all rules ; I have 
neglected all decorums, everything except that I have never 
forgot a friend, whose good head and heart have made me 
esteem and love him. What appearance there may have 
been of neglect, arises from my manner of life ; chequered 



LIFE OF BURKE. XUI 

with various designs ; sometimes in London, sometimes in 
remote parts of the country ; sometimes in France, and 
shortly, please God, to be in America." He never visited 
America, nor contested the chair of moral philosophy at 
Glasgow, nor did he do many other things that his biogra- 
phers have imagined. 

In 1756 he undertook two adventures : he married, and he 
published his first writings. His wife was the daughter of 
Dr. Nugent, an Irish physician, who had attended him in his 
sickness and had received him into his own house to facilitate 
his return to health. Two sons were born of this marriage, 
— Richard, whose death occasions the most pathetic passage 
in the " Letter to a Noble Lord," and Christopher, who 
died in childhood. 

Burke's first publication was " A Vindication of Natural 

Society, in a Letter to Lord by a late Noble Writer " 

(1756). It was an ironical commentary on the philosophy of 
Bolingbroke — whose works had been posthumously pub- 
lished in 1754 — and so dextrously was the rapid, ornate 
style of Bolingbroke imitated that even accomplished critics 
were deceived into the belief that the work was a genuine 
original. The other work of the same year, which, however, 
is said to have been written when Burke was but nineteen 
years old, was " A Philosophical Inquiry into the Origin of 
Our Ideas on the Sublime and Beautiful." A copy of this 
treatise fell into the hands of Lessing and Moses Mendels- 
sohn, who held high converse in Breslau over the principles 
of art rather crudely enunciated therein, and Lessing was 
induced thereby to write the "Laokoon," a classic of Euro- 
pean literature.^ Burke was now fairly launched upon litera- 
ture. His interest in the theater caused him to begin a collec- 

1 Macaulay was wont to say that whenever he read Lessing's " Laokoon" 
and Goethe's " Wilhelm Meister " he felt like throwing everything of a 
critical nature that he had himself written into the flames. 



xiv LIFE OF BURKE. 

tion of " Hints for an Essay on the Drama " at almost the 
same time that Diderot in his " Paradoxe sur le Comedien " 
and Lessing in the " Hamburgische Dramaturgie '' were 
working a revolution in dramatic literature and furnishing a 
philosophical interpretation of the actor's art. The dull and 
sterile considerations of Burke's " Essay " are far removed 
from the fresh and fertile thought of his great contemporaries 
in France and Germany. The style, too, is simple and 
austere, illustrating the canons of Irish taste rather than the 
eighteenth-century English standard.' 

1 Wraxall says of Flood's oratory that " the slow-measured and 
sententious style of enunciation which characterized his eloquence, 
however calculated to excite admiration it might be in the senate of 
the sister kingdom, appeared to English ears cold, stiff, and deficient in 
some of the best recommendations of attention" ("Memoirs," vol. iii, p. 
587). Lecky, in his remarks upon Irish style in the eighteenth century, 
says : " The standard of taste prevailing in Ireland, or at least in Dublin, 
during the first three-quarters of the eighteenth century appears to have 
been as far as possible removed from the exaggerated, overheated, and 
over-ornamented rhetoric which is so commonly associated virith the 
term Irish eloquence. The style of Swift, the style of Berkeley, and 
the style of Goldsmith are in their different ways among the most 
perfect in English literature, but they are simple sometimes to the verge 
of baldness, and they manifest a much greater distaste for ornamenta- 
tion and rhetorical effect than the best contemporary writings in 
England. Burke had by nature one of the most exuberant of human 
imaginations, and his literary taste was by no means pure ; but it is 
very remarkable that it was not until a long residence in England had 
made him indifferent to the canons of Irish taste that the true character 
of his intellect was fully disclosed. 

" . . It represented, no doubt, in a great measure, the reaction of 
the cultivated taste of the nation against popular and prevalent faults, 
just as it is common to find among the illustrious writers and critics who 
have in the present century arisen in America a severity of taste and of 
literary judgment and a fastidious purity of expression rarely equalled 
among good English writers " (" England in the Eighteenth Century," 
vol. iv, p. 450). Sir James Mackintosh, describing the writings of 
Berkeley, says : " Perhaps he also surpassed Cicero in the charm of 



LIFE OF BURKE. xv 

An "Abridgement of the History of England," brought 
down to the reign of King John, and an "Account of the 
European Settlements in America" (1757) indicate a change 
of literary interest and a progress from abstract speculation 
to political and economic affairs. He proposed a yearly 
chronicle of political events, and with Dodsley as publisher 
issued the first volume of the "Annual Register" in 1759, 
receiving from his publisher one hundred pounds for his 
work. It was a time of great political and military activity, 
and the " Register " had abundant events to record. It was 
the climax of the Seven Years' War and of the expansion 
of England. In 1756 Clive won Plassey and took India 
into his grasp; in 1759 General Wolfe took Quebec and 
ended the long struggle between England and France for the 
possession of America. At this time, too, Burke began to 
gain a practical insight into public affairs. He was intro- 
duced to William Gerard Hamilton, better known by his 
nickname of " Single-speech," whom he accompanied to 
Ireland when Hamilton went thither in 1761 as secre- 
tary to the Earl of Halifax. Hamilton secured for his 
auxiliary a pension of three hundred pounds, but demanded 
that Burke should give to his service his entire time, and 
dream no more of "authorism." Burke refused to sell 
himself and threw up the pension after having held it for 
two years. He left the service of his first political employer 
entertaining an opinion of him that was afterward expressed 
by Dr. Leland with more force than elegance when he 
described Hamilton as a sullen, vain, proud, selfish, canker- 
hearted, envious reptile. In the year (1764) marked by this 
dissolution of amity Burke became a member of the famous 
literary club which held its sessions at the Turk's Head, in 

simplicity, a quality eminently found in Irish writers before the end of 
the eighteenth century " (" Dissertation on Ethical Philosophy," 
p. 214). 



XVI LIFE OF BURKE. 

Gerard Street, and which numbered among its original 
members Johnson, Reynolds, Hawkins, Beauclerk, Gold- 
smith, Burke, and Dr. Nugent. Tliis most celebrated of 
" clubs " had its origin in the thought of Sir Joshua Reynolds 
and in his conversation with Dr. Johnson. It grew to have 
thirty-five members, meeting once a fortnight during the 
session of Parliament. Edward Gibbon, who was elected 
March 4, 1774, formulated the now famous announcement 
of election to membership : " Sir, I have the pleasure to 
inform you that you had last night the honour to be elected 
a member of 'The Club.'" The club still exists, holding 
its meetings at Willis's rooms, St. James's Street, on alternate 
Friday evenings instead of Mondays, as in its earlier history. 
It has had in recent years many distinguished members. 
Dean Milman presided at the Centenary dinner June 7, 
1864; Hallam, Macaulay, Earl Stanhope, the Marquis of 
Lansdowne, Henry Reeve, Sir Henry Taylor, Sir Frederick 
Leighton, Tennyson, Matthew Arnold, Spencer Walpole, and 
other dignitaries of church and state have been connected 
with it, and Lord Acton, W. E. H. Lecky, Mr. Gladstone, 
Lord Salisbury, and the Duke of Argyll are among its 
members at the present time (1898). 

A change of ministry took place in 1765, when Grenville, 
during whose administration Wilkes had been prosecuted 
and the Stamp Act passed, was dismissed, and Lord Rock- 
ingham was summoned by the king to perform the duties of 
government. His appointment of Burke as his private 
secretary occasioned much scandal-mongering.^ Burke was 

^ Burke was probably introduced to Lord Rockingham by William 
Burke, with whom his relations were most intimate, and who may or 
may not have been a kinsman. William Burke was a man of consider- 
able ability — he was reputed to have written the Junius letters — and 
had an Irishman's facility for knowing people. He was a desperate 
stock gambler, and there were always ugly rumors afloat concerning the 
transactions of "the Burkes." 



LIFE OF BURKE. XVU 

denounced as a Jesuit, a Papist, an Irish adventurer; but 
Lord Rockingham, after a frank conversation with his 
maUgned secretary, built an absolute trust upon him, and a 
generous and an abiding friendship began between the two 
men, marred by no disagreement or slip of loyalty. Burke 
was returned to Parliament for Lord Verney's pocket borough 
of Wendover (Dec. 23, 1765). His maiden speech (Jan. 27, 
1766) was on a motion that the petition sent from the 
American Congress should be received by Parliament. He 
argued that the petition should be received on the ground 
that it was in itself an acknowledgment of the rights of the 
House (see Bancroft, " History of the United States," vol. iii, 
p. 551). The Rockingham ministry came to an end June 7, 
1766. Burke wrote its obituary — "A Short History of a 
Short Administration " — and, accepting the fate of his party, 
declined the overtures of Chatham, who sought to attach 
him to his administration. He visited Ireland, received the 
freedom of Galway, and for his opposition — in the next 
session — to the motion to forbid the importation of Irish 
wool into England received the further honor of the freedom 
of Dublin. 

Burke was a lover of the country. He sought his recrea- 
tion among trees and in gardens. In theories of arboriculture 
and stock breeding he took as keen an interest as in the 
great affairs of state. It was his ambition, as he said, to 
"cast a little root" in England, and on May i, 1768, he 
purchased six hundred acres in Buckinghamshire, twenty- 
four miles from London. The estate, called Gregories, was in 
the parishes of Penn and Beaconsfield. It had been the seat 
of the poet Waller, and it is near the home of William Penn, 
and not far from the country churchyard of Gray's elegy. 
The mystery of Burke's purchase of this land for twenty- 
two thousand pounds has never been entirely cleared up. 
He was an adventurer when he entered Parliament, with no 



XVIU LIFE OF BURKE. 

apparent means of a livelihood. It is known that his 
brother Richard and his kinsman William Burke and Lord 
Verney were at this time gambling in East India stock, that 
the stock fell and the Burkes were ruined. Whatever may 
be our theory of Edmund Burke's financial resources and 
speculations, it is certain that from 1769 he was never free 
from the annoyance of debt. He borrowed thirty thousand 
pounds from Lord Rockingham, and the debt was never paid, 
Rockingham ordering all Burke's bonds to be destroyed. 
He was frequently under the necessity of negotiating loans 
for pitifully small amounts. The purchase of Beaconsfield 
was as fatal to him as the acquisition of Abbotsford to Sir 
Walter Scott. And yet Burke was not inordinately profuse 
in his living; his expenses in the country did not exceed 
twenty-five hundred pounds a year, and probably his city 
life (for he neither drank nor gambled) did not add greatly 
to this modest expenditure.' 

After a visit to France (1773), where he saw much of the 
old nobility and met Diderot and the Encyclopedists at the 
salon of Mdlle. de I'Espinasse, Burke consented to enter a 
contest for Parliament as member for Bristol. The six 
years during which he represented the second city of the 
kingdom were the years of the American Revolution. He 
opposed " The Boston Port Bill " and the proposal to alter 
the charter of the Province of Massachusetts. His famous 
speech on " American Taxation " was delivered April 19, 
1774. In it he utters the warning: "Again and again, 
revert to your old principles. Seek peace and ensue it. 
Leave America, if she has taxable matter in her, to tax 

' Charles Wentworth Dilke, " The Papers of a Critic," London, 
1875, has exhaustively considered Burke's money affairs, and attempts 
to show how Burke supported himself in London before being retained 
by the Rockingham party, and where he got the money to buy and 
to keep up Gregories. 



LIFE OF BURKE. xix 

herself. I am not going into the distinction of rights, nor 
attempting to mark their boundaries. I do not enter into 
those metaphysical distinctions. I hate the very sound of 
them. Leave the Americans as they anciently stood, and 
these distinctions, born of our unhappy contest, will die 
along with it. They and we, and their and our ancestors, 
have been happy under that system. Let the memory of 
all actions in contradiction to that good old mode, on both 
sides, be extinguished forever. Be content to bind America 
by laws of trade ; you have always done it. Let this be 
your reason for binding their trade. Do not burden them 
with taxes ; you were not used to do so from the beginning. 
Let this be your reason for not taxing. These are the 
arguments of states and kingdoms. Leave the rest to the 
schools ; for there only they may be discussed with safety. 
But if, intemperately, unwisely, fatally, you sophisticate and 
poison the very source of government, by urging subtle 
deductions and consequences odious to those you govern 
from the unlimited and illimitable nature of supreme sover- 
eignty, you will teach them by these means to call that 
sovereignty itself in question. When you drive him hard, 
the boar will surely turn upon the hunters. If that sover- 
eignty and their freedom cannot be reconciled which will 
they take ? They will cast your sovereignty in your face." 
To Burke, as to Horace Walpole and many another thoughtful 
observer, the failure of the struggle of the English people in 
America meant the sacrifice of the English constitution and 
the mortification of English liberty. " Nobody shall persuade 
me," he said upon another occasion, " when a whole people 
are concerned, that acts of lenity are not means of concilia- 
tion"; and again: "I do not know the method of drawing 
up an indictment against a whole people." 

With the passing of Lord North's government in 1782, 
Lord Rockingham, Charles Fox, and Lord Shelburne were 



XX LIFE OF BURKE. 

sent for to form a new niinislry. Eurke was appointed Pay- 
master of the Forces, his brother made Secretary of the 
Treasury, and his son Richard named to be his father's 
deputy at the Pay-office. In three months Lord Rockingham 
was dead, and Burke, allied with Fox, was pouring forth 
daily invectives against Lord Shelburne. The administration 
fell in 1783 and was succeeded by the ministry of the Duke 
of Portland, in which North and Fox exercised sovereign 
sway, and under which Burke returned to the Pay-office. 

Between the American Revolution and the French Revo- 
lution — the second portentous change in the world's affairs 
with which Burke was concerned — intervened the trial of 
Warren Hastings, which, with its allied Indian questions, 
occupied Burke for fourteen years, and with whose story the 
world is familiar through a hundred narratives of eloquence 
and power. 

Burke and the French Revolution. 

The revolution which swept the feudal system out of 
France was the most violent manifestation of a tremendous 
series of changes which disturbed almost every country in 
Europe. The earth was filled with the shrill cries of liberty 
and equality and the proclamation of the rights of man. 
The lurid effulgence of the French Revolution beat upon 
English faces, arousing alternately hope and fear. An ideal 
excitement seized upon the people, and the poets, always 
the first to feel the rush of the nation in emotion, chanted 
the praises of the new order. The eighteenth-century 
literature, which had begun with the poetry of Pope 
— steeped to the lips in artificial life — and which had 
heard in Gray the distant approach of the voices of the 
Revolution, now closed with the defiant songs of liberty of 
Robert Burns. Wordsworth, also, and Coleridge and Southey 



LIFE OF BURKE. xxi 

began in sympathy with the destroyers of the Bastille, but 
after the Reign of Terror grew disillusionized and conserva- 
tive. Wordsworth visited France at the time of the 
September massacres, and in both the clamorous halls, the 
National Synod and the Jacobins, he 

Saw the Revolutionary Power 
Toss like a ship at anchor, rocked by storms. 

Southey wrote "Wat Tyler " as one who was impatient of " all 
the oppressions that are done under the sun." Coleridge 
sang his lofty gratulation, — 

When France in wrath her giant limbs upreared. 
And with that oath which smote air, earth, and sea 
Stamped her strong foot and said she would be free. 

The sentimental Jacobinism of Burns — a rebel to the 
last — formulated in song a programme of social aspiration. 
Dr. Priestley, Dr. Price, William Godwin, and Thomas Paine 
theorized about the uprising of the proletariat, and with 
metaphysical abstractions constructed an ideal society upon 
"Political Justice" and the "Rights of Man." Even 
Parliament rocked upon the strong current of revolutionary 
sympathy. Fox declared that the fall of the Bastille was the 
greatest and best event that had ever happened in the world, 
and the Earl of Lauderdale appeared in the House wearing 
a rough Jacobin costume. Burke never shared the tommon 
transport. From the first he was uneasy and apprehensive. 
He distrusted " the blind hysterics of the Celt," and watched 
the rapid and singular proceedings across the channel with 
absorbing interest and with suspended judgment. When 
the terrible events of the Revolution came on, and France 
performed the perilous feat that Carlyle called " shooting 
Niagara," and the doctrine of the " rights of man " raged 
like a fever in the blood of Europe, and fanaticism, specu- 



XXI 1 LIFE OF BUKKE. 

lation, and atheism dethroned Burke's cherished idols of 
order, sobriety, and "gently enlarged precedent," the states- 
man's anxious vigils were startled by visions of stupendous 
and hideous catastrophe. 

Dr. Price, in addressing an association called the Revolution 
Society, praised France in good set terms for having ad- 
vanced the principles of the English Revolution to a loftier 
height. Burke considered that the preacher had given " the 
solemn public seal of sanction " to what was going on in 
France, and set to work forthwith upon a message and 
warning to the people of England. He toiled terribly upon 
it, correcting and rewriting it in every sentence, until, in 
exactly a year (November, 1790), " Reflections on the French 
Revolution," a small octavo of three hundred and fifty-six 
pages, appeared. Sir James Mackintosh, then a young man 
of twenty-five years, replied to the " Reflections " in the 
just and sane " Vindicice GalliccB," though he afterwards 
recanted and joined hands with Burke. Thomas Paine 
retorted in the " Rights of Man " with an energy and fierce- 
ness which were a grim satisfaction to Burke. 

The tears of passion shed in the " Reflections," and 
the horror of anarchy which the gigantic diatribe displayed 
proceeded from deep sources of conviction; peace, friendship, 
all precious things Burke sacrificed in the intense heat of 
mind aroused by the Revolution. He quarrelled with Sheri- 
dan and separated from Fox, saying, " It is indiscreet at any 
period, but especially at my time of life, to provoke enemies 
or give my friends occasion to desert me. Yet if my firm 
and steady adherence to the British Constitution place me 
in such a dilemma, I am ready to risk it, and with my last 
words to exclaim, ' Fly from the French Constitution.' " 
John Morley, writing of the memorable scene of May 6, 
1791, when these fatal words were spoken, says: "The mem- 
bers who sat on the same side were aghast at proceedings 



LIFE OF BUJiKE. XXlll 

which went beyond their worst apprehensions. Even the 
ministerialists were shocked. Pitt agreed much more with 
Fox than with Burke, but he would have been more than 
human if he had not watched with complacency his two most 
formidable adversaries turning their swords against one 
another. Wilberforce, who was more disinterested, lamented 
the spectacle as shameful. In the galleries there was hardly 
a dry eye. Fox, as might have been expected from his warm 
and generous nature, was deeply moved, and is described as 
weeping even to sobbing. He repeated his former acknowl- 
edgment of his debt to Burke, and he repeated his former 
expression of faith in the blessings which the abolition of 
royal despotism would bring to France. With unabated 
vehemence, Burke again rose to denounce the French Con- 
stitution, — ' a building composed of untempered mortar — 
the work of Goths and Vandals, where everything was dis- 
jointed and inverted.' After a short rejoinder from Fox, the 
scene came to a close, and the once friendly intercourse 
between the two heroes was at an end. When they met in 
the managers' box in Westminster Hall on the business of 
Hastings's trial, they met with the formalities of strangers. 
There is a story that when Burke left the House on the night 
of the quarrel it was raining, and Mr. Curwen, a member of 
the Opposition, took him home in his carriage. Burke at 
once began to declaim against the French. Curwen dropped 
some remark on the other side. ' What ! ' Burke cried out, 
grasping the check-string, 'are you one of these people.' Set 
me down 1 ' It needed all Curwen's force to keep him where 
he was; and when they reached his house Burke stepped out 
without saying a single word." (Morley's " Burke," p. 264.) 
At Margate, in ill health, Burke finished the "Appeal from 
the Old to the New Whigs," which was published in August, 
1791, "the last piece that Burke wrote on the Revolution in 
which there is any pretense of measure, sobriety, and calm 



XXIV LIFE OF BURKE. 

judgment in face of a formidable and perplexing crisis. 
Henceforth it is not political philosophy, but the minatory 
exhortation of a prophet " (Morley). 

At first blush it would appear that Burke entertained one 
set of political doctrines when he favored the struggle of the 
colonists in America and quite another when he inveighed 
against the aspirations of the revolutionists in France. 

His course was in reality thoroughly consistent. " I flatter 
myself," he said, "that I love a manly, moral, regulated 
liberty''; but he could not conceive of liberty apart from 
order. He regarded with a reverence that was almost awe 
the vast and intricate body of English law and tradition, 
established by charter and custom. Lightly to overturn 
ancient opinion, to innovate in morals or religion, to experi- 
ment with the social order were to him acts of suicidal folly 
leading to atheism, anarchy, and dissolution. His notion of 
England was Tennyson's, ■ — 

A land of settled government, 
A land of just and old renown 
Where Freedom broadens slowly down 
From precedent to precedent. 

Where faction seldom gathers head; 
But by degrees to fulness wrought. 
The strength of some diffusive thought 
Hath time and space to work and spread. 

He was everywhere recognized as the most stalwart 
defender of the constitution, for which he entertained almost 
a superstitious reverence. When Richard Watson, Bishop 
of Llandaff, whose liberal sympathies had caused him to be 
called " the levelling prelate " and " the Bishop of the 
Dissenters," recanted after the execution of Louis XVI and 
published his " Strictures on the French Revolution and the 
British Constitution" (Jan. 15, 1793), Wordsworth regarded 



LIFE OF BURKE. XXV 

him as a renegade, and replied with " An Apology for the 
French Revolution," signed " A Republican," in which the 
arguments were the arguments of Rousseau, and the object 
of his attack was rather Burke than Watson. He declared 
that Burke, with " a refinement of cruelty superior to that 
which in the East yokes the living to the dead, strove to 
persuade us that we and our posterity to the end of time were 
riveted to a constitution by the indissoluble compact of a 
dead parchment." Because of his evident sincerity of 
purpose and his great services to English liberty, Burke's 
opposition was regarded by the radicals with lenity and mild 
regret. Coleridge, in his " Sonnets on Eminent Characters " 
(December, 1794), compares Pitt, "the dark scowler," to 
Judas Iscariot, but addresses Burke, — 

As late I lay in slumber's shadowy vale, 

With wetted cheek, and in a mourner's guise, 

I saw the sainted form of Freedom rise ; 

She spake ! not sadder moans the autumnal gale — 

" Great Son of Genius ! sweet to me thy name, 

Ere in an evil hour with altered voice 

Thou bad'st Oppression's hireling crew rejoice. 

Blasting with wizard spell my laurelled fame. 

Yet never, Burke ! thou drank'st Corruption's bowl ! 

Thee stormy Pity and the cherished lure 

Of Pomp, and proud Precipitance of soul 

Wildered with meteor fires. Ah Spirit pure ! 

That error's mist had left thy purged eye, 

So might I clasp thee with a Mother's joy. 

"Murderous atheists," Burke called the sect of revolution. 
To him they were "bloody felons who annoy the world." He 
denounced all those who would irreverently meddle with 
forms of life about which had accumulated " the awful hoar 
of innumerable ages." He saw a new and pernicious doctrine 
spreading from the schools into the mass of the people and 



^vi LIFE OF BUKKE. 

threatening the old social order. It alarmed him that " rank 
and office and all the solemn plausibilities of the world had 
lost their reverence and effect " (" Present Discontents "). 
Government by contract, by constitutions made in the study 
and pigeon-holed and ticketed by an Abb^ Sieyes, shocked 
his sense of the solemnity that attaches to the great invisible 
ideas upon which the progress of a nation is borne. " One 
sure symptom," he said to the sheriffs of Bristol, " of an ill- 
conducted state is the propensity of the people to resort to 
theories." And in his speech on Conciliation he declared 
that the discussion of abstract rights "is the great 

Serbonian bog 
Betwixt Damiata and Mount Casius old, 
Where armies whole have sunk.'' 

"All the ancient, honest, juridical principles and institu- 
tions of England," he said, " are so many clogs to check and 
retard the headlong course of violence and oppression; they 
were invented for this one good purpose, that what was not 
just should not be convenient." Burke was willing to admit 
the right of England to tax her colonies, but he knew that if 
the integrity of the empire was to be preserved it was not 
expedient to enforce taxation. He waged his war of 
fourteen years against Warren Hastings and the misman- 
agement of India because he would save the empire, and he 
believed right conduct indispensable to the preservation of 
India. " Our business," he said, " is to rule, not to wrangle." 
And as he pursued political expediency in India and Amer- 
ica in order to preserve the constitution inviolate and the 
integrity of the august empire, in precisely the same manner 
he warned England to keep out French infection — " the 
rude inroad of Gallic tumult" — lest England, too, should 
"lead up the death-dance of democratic revolution " and all 
"perish and be overwhelmed in a common ruin." 



LIFE OF BURKE. xxvu 

In his sixty-fourth year Burke announced his intention to 
leave Parliament upon the conclusion of the trial of 
Hastings. Accordingly, in 1794 he applied for the Chiltern 
Hundreds. His son Richard Burke was nominated for his 
seat in the House, and it was proposed to make Burke a 
peer, — Lord Beaconsfield. But in August, 1794, Richard 
Burke died, and the venerable statesman, overwhelmed and 
desolate, withdrew to Beaconsfield to drag out three sad, 
weary years. The arrangements for a peerage ceased with 
the son's death. Pitt, who was aware of Burke's financial 
distress, offered him a grant of twelve hundred pounds a 
year from the Civil List for Mrs. Burke's life, "to be 
followed by a proposition to Parliament in a message from 
the king to confer an annuity of greater value upon a 
statesman who had served the country to his own loss for 
thirty years. As a matter of fact, the grant, twenty- 
five hundred pounds a year in amount, much to Burke's 
chagrin, was never brought before Parliament, but was 
conferred directly by the Crown, as a charge on the four 
and a half per cent fund for two or more lives." The 
Duke of Bedford and the Earl of Lauderdale attacked the 
pension because it had not been given with the consent of 
Parliament and therefore was an offense against the plan of 
economic reform. Burke's reply to the attack is "The 
Letter to a Noble Lord." 

He died July 9, 1797, and is buried at Beaconsfield. On 
July 13 George Canning wrote to one of Lord Malmes- 
bury's embassy, "There is but one event, but that is an 
event for the world, — Burke is dead." 

The Personality of Burke. 

Edmund Burke won many friends. He was a " clubable " 
man, as Dr. Johnson said, and men were attracted to him 



xxviu LIFE OF BURKE. 

and loved him. He served Lord Rockingham, in a political 
alliance, with unswerving loyalty, and he was devoted to 
Garrick and Sir Joshua Reynolds. The literary coterie with 
whom he was early associated believed in a great future for 
Burke in letters and philosophy. They admired his vast 
abilities and the riches of his knowledge. " Burke," said 
Johnson, "is such a man that if you met him for the first 
time in the street, when you were stopped by a drove of 
oxen, and you and he stepped aside to take shelter but for 
five minutes, he 'd talk to you in such a manner that, when 
you departed, you would say, ' This is an extraordinary 
man.' He is never what we would call humdrum ; never 
unwilling to begin to talk, nor in haste to leave off." Once 
when he was ill Burke's name was mentioned. Johnson 
cried out, " That fellow calls forth all my powers ; were I to 
see Burke now it would kill me." 

The opinion that the club entertained of Burke is perhaps 
expressed by Goldsmith in "Retaliation," — 

Here lies our good Edmund, whose genius was such, 
We scarcely can praise it or blame it too much ; 
Who, born for the universe, narrowed his mind, 
And to party gave up what was meant for mankind. 
Though fraught with all learning, yet straining his throat 
To persuade Tommy Townshend to lend him a vote ; 
Who, too deep for his hearers, still went on refining, 
And thought of convincing, while they thought of dining. 
Though equal to all things, for all things unfit ; 
Too nice for a statesman, too proud for a wit ; 
For a patriot too cool ; for a drudge disobedient ; 
And too fond of the right to pursue the expedient. 
In short, 't was his fate, unemployed, or in place, sir, 
To eat mutton cold, and cut blocks with a razor. 

The qualities that amazed and fascinated his hearers in 
conversation were precisely the characteristics of his public 



LIFE OF BURKE. xxix 

address, — great and varied supplies of knowledge, an 
imperjal command of all the resources of language, and a 
subtle, sinewy flexibility of logic. Goldsmith said of him 
that he wound into a subject like a serpent. Never at a 
loss for the right word, he struggled with the hurrying crowd 
of his ideas. His thought issued in rapid speech, opulent 
with all gorgeous ornament. His style had the rapidity of 
Bolingbroke and the masculine vigor of Dryden. In his 
flight he passed from Miltonic elevation to Crabbe-like 
terseness of colloquialism. 

His oratory suffered from natural disabilities. His voice 
was harsh, and he spoke with a marked Irish accent. He 
lacked tact, was choleric and irritable, and displayed at 
times a fierce Irish temper. On more than one occasion he 
was forcibly dragged into his seat by his coat tails when the 
fiery eruption of his anger or Scorn threatened to bring him 
into danger. In 1778 Lord Mulgrave, in a speech on the 
navy estimates, acknowledged that not a shilling had been 
laid out on the purposes for which the last vote had been 
made. Burke's anger blazed. " Snatching ' the fine gilt 
book of estimates ' from the table, he flung it at the Treasury 
bench, and the volume hit the candle, and nearly hit Wel- 
bore Ellis, the treasurer of the navy, on the shins." 

And yet he was gentle of heart and sympathetic with all 
suffering or aspiring ones. The poet Crabbe, in peril of the 
debtor's prison, appealed to him by letter for aid; and 
Burke, occupied with the most exacting duties of his busy 
public life, paused to answer the begging note and to 
receive its writer and to relieve his distress with money and 
to grant him rooms in his own house at Beaconsfield. When 
his own income was inadequate to his needs he stinted 
himself that he might send James Barry, a promising Irish 
lad, to study art in foreign capitals. 

"It is at his country home," says Mr. Morley, "that we 



XXX LIFB OF BURKE. 

like best to think of Burke. It is still a touching picture to 
the historic imagination to follow him from the heat and 
violence of the House, where tipsy squires derided the 
greatest genius of the time, down to the calm shades of 
Beaconsfield, where he would with his own hands give food 
to a starving beggar, or medicine to a peasant sick of the 
ague ; where he would talk of the weather, the turnips, and 
the hay with the team men and the farm bailiff ; and where, 
in the evening stillness, he would pace the walk under the 
trees, and reflect on the state of Europe and the distractions 
of his country." 

The House of Russell. 

Francis Russell, fifth Duke of Bedford (1765-1802), by 
his speech upon Burke's pension provoked " The Letter to 
a Noble Lord." He was the son of Francis Russell, Mar- 
quis of Tavistock, and Elizabeth, sixth daughter of William 
(Keppel), second Earl Albemarle. He succeeded his 
grandfather, John Russell, the fourth duke, in 1771. He 
was educated at Westminster School and at Trinity College, 
Cambridge. After two years of foreign travel he took his 
seat in the House of Lords, Dec. 5, 1787. He was not a 
lover of books, and indeed had read so little that he told 
Lord Holland in 1793 that he hesitated to address the 
House for fear of exposing himself by his bad English. His 
acquaintance with James Maitland (Earl of Lauderdale) and 
Charles James Fox encouraged him, and he became a lead- 
ing debater. He died unmarried, March 2, 1802, and was 
succeeded by his brother John, sixth Duke of Bedford. On 
March 16, 1802, Fox delivered an eloquent eulogy upon the 
dead duke, which was seconded by Sheridan, and the 
manuscript of which is preserved at Woburn Abbey. 

The Russells are descended, as Burke reminds the fifth 



LIFE OF BURKE. xxxi 

duke, from John Russell, a gentleman of the chamber to 
Henry VIII, who was employed by the king in several 
important missions and was rewarded with the plunder of 
the monasteries. In 1540 the abbey of Tavistock, in 
Devonshire, and many manors belonging to the abbey were 
presented -to him. After the accession of Edward VI still 
other large grants were made to him, notably the Cistercian 
abbey of Woburn in Bedfordshire, in 1547, and the abbey 
of Thorney, in 1549. These grants were the origin of the 
immense wealth of the family. 

John Russell was created Earl of Bedford Jan. 19, 1550. 
He died in London March 14, 1555, and was succeeded 
by his only son, Francis Russell, second Earl of Bedford, 
who was Sheriff of Bedfordshire in 1547, Member of Par- 
liament for Buckinghamshire, 1547-1552, and Lord Warden 
of the Stannaries, 1553-1580. He was a stalwart Prot- 
estant, was imprisoned during Queen Mary's reign, and 
when released retired to Geneva, where he relieved the 
wants of many of the religious exiles. In 1558 he was made 
Lord-Lieutenant of the counties of Dorset, Devon, and Corn- 
wall. Upon the accession of Elizabeth he was named 
Privy Councillor. He enjoyed the costly luxury of enter- 
taining Queen Elizabeth twice, — at Cheneys and at Woburn. 
Upon the second occasion he wrote in some alarm to Lord 
Burleigh: " I am now going to prepare for her Ma*i=^ coming 
to Woborne, which shall be done in the best and most 
hastiest manner that I can. I trust y"" L? will bear in 
remembrance to provide helpe that her Mat= tarrieng be 
not above two nights and a daye, for, for so long tyme do I 
prepare. I pray God, thi Rowmes and Lodgings there may 
be to her Mat^ contentacion for the tyme. If I could make 
them better upon such a sodeyn, then would I, be assured, 
they should be better than they be. So w' my heartie 
thanks to your good L. remayning always, as I have just 



XXXU LIFE OF BURKE. 

cause, yo", and so commit you to God's keeping. From 
Russell House this XVI* of July, 1572. 

Yr L. right assured, 

F. Bedford." 

He was godfather to Sir Francis Drake, founded the Free 
School at Woburn, and left money to University College, 
Oxford. His eldest daughter married Ambrose Dudley, 
Earl of Warwick. One of his sons. Sir William Russell 
(Lord Russell of Thornhaugh), fought bravely in the fatal 
battle of Zutphen, where Sir Philip Sidney fell. It was Sir 
William's only son Francis (1593-1641) who became fourth 
Earl of Bedford, having succeeded his cousin Edward, who 
died young and unmarried. Francis was one of thirty- 
three peers who in 162 1 petitioned James I on the prejudice 
caused to the English peerage by the lavish grant of Irish 
and Scottish titles of nobility. 

William, the fifth Earl of Bedford, was son to Francis. 
He commanded the Parliamentary Cavalry at Edgehill, but 
gradually separated himself from the Parliamentary cause 
and went to the king. He was made first Duke of Bedford 
(1694). According to Macaulay, he " accepted the dukedom 
with some reluctance, alleging, as a reason for preferring his 
earldom to a dukedom, that an earl who had a numerous 
family might send one son to the Temple, and another to a 
counting house in the City, but the sons of a duke were all 
lords, and a lord could not make his bread either at the Bar 
or on 'Change." 

The Dukes of Bedford have been: 

William, the first duke, succeeded by his son. 
Wriothesley, the second duke, succeeded by his son. 
Wriothesley, the third duke, succeeded by his brother. 
Lord John Russell, the fourth duke, succeeded by his grandson. 
Francis, the fifth duke, succeeded by his brother. 



LIFE OF BURKE. XXXlll 

John, the sixth duke, succeeded by his son. 

Francis, the seventh duke, succeeded by his son. 

William, the eighth duke, succeeded by his cousin. 

Francis Charles Hastings Russell, the ninth duke, succeeded by 
his son. 

George William Francis Sackville, the tenth duke, succeeded 
by his brother. 

Herbrand Arthur, the eleventh and present duke. 

The present duke has published an exact account of his 
stewardship in administering the affairs of the vast property 
to which Burke refers. His book is " A Great Agricultural 
Estate, being the Story of the Origin and Administration of 
Woburn and Thorney," London, 1897. It is modestly 
and clearly written, and explains the contraction of values 
in land in England, the failure of agriculture, and the 
decline of rents, which have reduced to actual poverty many 
of the landed gentry. The Duke of Bedford's seventy- 
three thousand acres are farmed at a financial loss, though 
the deficit is handsomely provided for by the rentals of 
"certain lodging houses" in Bloomsbury — one square 
mile of houses in the heart of London ! — which bring to the 
duke an annual income of three hundred thousand pounds.^ 

The Thorney estate is situated in the basin of the Fen- 
lands of the Bedford Level. It is lower than the sea, " the 
level varying from nine to twelve feet below high-water 
mark in the German Ocean." The Romans had attempted 
to drain the Fens, and their works had been maintained and 
carried on by the monks of Ely. The work had ceased and 
the land was submerged when Francis, fourth Earl of Bed- 

1 The great Bloomsbury estate came to the Bedfords through the 
marriage of William Russell, son of the fifth earl, to Lady Vaughan, 
daughter and co-heiress of the last Earl of Southampton. It is after 
this connection that the name Wriothesley (Southampton) appears in the 
Bedford line. 



XXXI V LIFE OF BURKE. 

ford, resumed the task of reclamation ; " the river beds 
were foul; the channels choked ; the streams continually 
overflowed their banks ; twice a day the tides drove back 
the fresh water and prevented the discharge of the 
upland streams. The country which Francis, Earl of 
Bedford, took in hand in the year 1630, in company with 
thirteen gentlemen adventurers, had thus become one vast 
deep fen, ' affording little benefit to the realm, other than 
fish and fowl, and overmuch harbor to a rude and almost 
barbarous sort of lazy and beggarly people.' " 

In three years the whole level was declared to be drained. 
Within this space of time the Earl of Bedford and his 
participants had spent no less than one hundred thousand 
pounds, equal perhaps to three hundred thousand pounds at 
present. The undertaking was pronounced defective, 
because it was found that in the winter the lands were 
under water. " The king was declared ' undertaker,' and 
was not only to have the ninety-five thousand acres set out 
for the Earl of Bedford, but also fifty-seven thousand acres 
more from the country. ' Being prevented, however, by 
troubles arising in the kingdom,' the king, it seems, did 
nothing in the work of draining." The work was resumed 
in 1649 by William, Earl of Bedford, who with tremendous 
toil won back the land from the sea and the swamps. 

The Dukes of Bedford have maintained an interest in 
agriculture. John, the fourth duke, was especially inter- 
ested in planting. Of him the present duke relates the 
following anecdote : " The duke, perceiving that the plan- 
tation required thinning in order to admit a free circulation 
of air and give health and vigor to the young trees, gave 
instructions to his gardener, and directed him as to the 
mode and extent of the thinning required. The gardener 
paused and hesitated, and at length said : ' Your grace must 
pardon me if I humbly remonstrate against your orders, but 



LIFE OF BURKE. xxxv 

I cannot possibly do what you desire; it would at once 
destroy the young plantation, and, moreover, it would be 
seriously injurious to my reputation as a planter.' The 
duke replied : ' Do as I desire you, and I will take care of 
your reputation.' The plantation was consequently thinned 
according to his instructions, and the duke caused a board 
to be fixed in the plantation, facing the road, on which was 
inscribed, ' This plantation has been thinned by John, Duke 
of Bedford, contrary to the advice and opinion of his 
gardener.' " The fifth duke at the very time that he was 
assailing Burke's pension was conducting experiments in the 
feeding of cattle and the growing of grasses, and of him 
Burke's friend Arthur Young declared: "The agricultural 
world never perhaps sustained a greater individual loss than 
the husbandry of this empire has suffered by the death of 
the Duke of Bedford." 

The house of Russell has produced some men of distin- 
guished power in the present century. Professor Jowett, the 
Master of Balliol, contributed to the Spectator, March 7, 
1 89 1, an appreciation of Hastings Russell, the ninth duke, 
which is a capital estimate of a highly accomplished man of 
a singular goodness and kindness of heart. " He was,'' 
says Jowett, " one of the richest men in England, but he had 
also been one of the poorest. He would sometimes say that 
he had lived on all incomes from two hundred pounds to 
two hundred thousand pounds a year, and that he could do 
so again." 

But the most illustrious of the family was Lord John, first 
Earl Russell, the youngest son of the sixth Duke of Bedford, 
and born in London, Aug. 18, 1792. The Times on the 
occasion of his death said: "In him we have lost a man 
who illustrates the history of England for half a century 
better, perhaps, than any other person of his time. During 
his long season of toil there were more brilliant political 



xxxvi LIFE OF BURk-R. 

intellects, more striking masters of debate, and men more 
gifted with the various qualities of party leadership. There 
were, on the whole, statesmen of greater foresight and more 
executive ability. There were statesmen who exercised a 
far more powerful fascination on the minds of rich and poor. 
But there was no other man so closely identified with the 
political movements which will make fifty or sixty years of 
our history memorable to the future." A reformer and 
leader in politics, he essayed to be a tragedian, a novelist, a 
historian, a biographer, an editor, and a pamphleteer. His 
audacity and universality made Sydney Smith say: " I believe 
Lord John Russell would perform the operation for the stone, 
build St. Peters, or assume with or without ten minutes' 
notice the command of the channel fleet, and no one would 
discover by his manner that the patient had died, the church 
tumbled down, and the channel fleet been knocked to 
atoms." He was the author of several political epigrams 
that have circulated widely, — "the honorable member talks 
of the cant of patriotism, but there is something worse than 
the cant of patriotism, and that is the re-cant of patriotism "; 
"one man's wit and all men's wisdom"; "a spur in the 
head is worth two in the heel." Lord John was raised to 
the peerage in 1861, and died May 28, 1878. He was twice 
married, first to Adelaide, daughter of Thomas Lister and 
widow of Thomas, second Lord Ribblesdale, and then to 
Lady Frances Anna Maria Elliott, daughter of Gilbert, second 
Earl of Minto. His eldest son by the second marriage was 
Viscount Amberley (1842-1876), who was an agnostic and 
wrote " An Analysis of Religious Belief," London, 1876, in 
two volumes. He married a daughter of Baron Stanley of 
Alderley, and his son John Francis Stanley succeeded Lord 
John Russell as second Earl Russell in 1878. 

Lord John's eldest brother, Lord George William Russell 
(1790-1846), served in the Peninsular War, was minister to 



LIFE OF BURKE. XXXVU 

Portugal, and ambassador at Berlin. Of his three sons, the 
eldest was Hastings, the ninth Duke of Bedford, and the 
youngest, Odo William, first Baron Ampthill (1829-1884), 
ambassador at Berlin in 187 1, and plenipotentiary at the 
Berlin Congress with Beaconsfield and Salisbury. 

ALBERT H. SMYTH. 



A Letter 

from the Right Honourable 
Edmund Burke 

to 

A Noble Lord 

on the 

Attacks made upon him and his Pension 

in 

The House of Lords 

by 

The Duke of Bedford 

and the 

Earl of Lauderdale 
Early in the present session of Parliament 



London : 
1796. 



A LETTER TO A NOBLE LORD. 



My Lord: I could hardly flatter myself with the hope 
that so very early in the season I should have to acknowl- 
edge obligations to the Duke of Bedford and to the Earl 
of Lauderdale. These noble persons have lost no time 
in conferring upon me that sort of honor which it is alone 5 
within their competence, and which it is certainly most 
congenial to their natures and their manners, to bestow. 

To be ill spoken of, in whatever language they speak, 
by the zealots of the new sect in philosophy and politics, 
of which these noble persons think so charitably, and of 10 
which others think so justly, to me is no matter of 
uneasiness or surprise. To have incurred the displeasure 
of the Duke of Orleans, or the Duke of Bedford, to fall 
under the censure of Citizen Brissot, or of his friend the 
Earl of Lauderdale, I ought to consider as proofs, not the 1 5 
least satisfactory, that I have produced some part of the 
effect I proposed by my endeavors. I have labored hard 
to earn what the noble lords are generous enough to pay. 
Personal offence I have given them none. The part they 
take against me is from zeal to the cause. It is well ! — it 20 
is perfectly well ! I have to do homage to their justice. 
I have to thank the Bedfords and the Lauderdales for 
having so faithfully and so fully acquitted towards me 
whatever arrear of debt was left undischarged by the 
Priestleys and the Paines. 25 



■1 EDMUND BURKE. 

Some, perhaps, may think them executors in their own 
wrong: I, at least, have nothing to complain of. They 
have gone beyond the demands of justice. They have 
been (a little, perhaps, beyond their intention) favorable 
5 to me. They have been the means of bringing out by their 
invectives the handsome things which Lord Grenville has 
had the goodness and condescension to say in my behalf. 
Retired as I am from the world, and from all its affairs 
and all its pleasures, I confess it does kindle in my nearly 

10 extinguished feelings a very vivid satisfaction to be so 
attacked and so commended. It is soothing to my 
wounded mind to be commended by an able, vigorous, 
and well-informed statesman, and at the very moment 
when he stands forth, with a manliness and resolution 

15 worthy of himself and of his cause, for the preservation 
of the person and government of our sovereign, and 
therein for the security of the laws, the liberties, the 
morals, and the lives of his people. To be in any fair 
way connected with such things is indeed a distinction. 

20 No philosophy can make me above it; no melancholy can 
depress me so low as to make me wholly insensible to 
such an honor. Why will they not let me remain in 
obscurity and inaction ? Are they apprehensive, that, if 
an atom of me remains, the sect has something to fear? 

25 Must I be annihilated, lest, like old John Zisca's, my skin 
might be made into a drum, to animate Europe to eternal 
battle against a tyranny that threatens to overwhelm all 
Europe and all the human race ? 

My Lord, it is a subject of awful meditation. Before 

30 this of France, the annals of all time have not furnished 
an instance of a complete revolution. That revolution 
seems to have extended ev'en to the constitution of the 
mind of man. It has this of wonderful in it, that it 
resembles what Lord Verulam says of the operations of 



A LETTER TO A NOBLE LORD. 5 

nature : It was perfect, not only in all its elements and 
principles, but in all its members and its organs from the 
very beginning. The moral scheme of France furnishes 
the only pattern ever known, which they who admire will 
instantly resemble. It is indeed an inexhaustible reper- 5 
tory of one kind of examples. In my wretched condition, 
though hardly to be classed with the living, I am not safe 
from them. They have tigers to fall upon animated 
strength. They have hyenas to prey upon carcasses. The 
national menagerie is collected by the first physiologists 10 
of the time; and it is defective in no description of 
savage nature. They pursue, even such as me, into the 
obscurest retreats, and haul them before their revolution- 
ary tribunals. Neither sex, nor age — nor the sanctuary 
of the tomb is sacred to them. They have so determined 15 
a hatred to all privileged orders, that they deny even to 
the departed, the sad immunities of the grave. They are 
not wholly without an object. Their turpitude purveys 
to their malice ; and they unplumb the dead for bullets to 
assassinate the living. If all revolutionists were not 20 
proof against all caution, I should recommend it to their 
consideration, that no persons were ever known in history, 
either sacred or profane, to vex the sepulchre, and by 
their sorceries, to call up the prophetic dead, with any 
other event, than the prediction of their own disastrous 25 
fate. — " Leave me, oh leave me to repose ! " 

In one thing I can excuse the Duke of Bedford for his 
attack upon me and my mortuary pension: He cannot 
readily comprehend the transaction he condemns. What 
I have obtained was the fruit of no bargain, the production 30 
of no intrigue, the res&lt of no compromise, the effect of 
no solicitation. The first suggestion of it never came 
from me, mediately or immediately, to his majesty or any 
of his ministers. It was long known that the instant my 



6 EDMUiW BURKE. 

engagements would permit it, and before the heaviest of 
all calamities had forever condemned me to obscurity and 
sorrow, I had resolved on a total retreat. I had executed 
that design. I was entirely out of the way of serving or 
5 of hurting any statesman or any party, when the ministers 
so generously and so nobly carried into effect the spon- 
taneous bounty of the crown. Both descriptions have 
acted as became them. When I could no longer serve 
them, the ministers have considered my situation. When 

10 I could no longer hurt them, the revolutionists have 
trampled on my infirmity. My gratitude, I trust, is equal 
to the manner in which the benefit was conferred. It 
came to me, indeed, at a time of life, and in a state of 
mind and body, in which no circumstance of fortune could 

15 afford me any real pleasure. But this was no fault in the 

royal donor, or in his ministers, who were pleased, in 

acknowledging the merits of an invalid servant of the 

public, to assuage the sorrows of a desolate old man. 

It would ill become me to boast of anything. It would 

20 as ill become me, thus called upon, to depreciate the 
value of a long life, spent with unexampled toil in the 
service of my country. Since the total body of my 
services, on account of the industry which was shown in 
them, and the fairness of my intentions, have obtained 

25 the acceptance of my sovereign, it would be absurd in me 
to range myself on the side of the Duke of Bedford and 
the corresponding society, or, as far as in me lies, to 
permit a dispute on the rate at which the authority 
appointed by our constitution to estimate such things, has 

30 been pleased to set them. 

Loose libels ought to be passed "by in silence and con- 
tempt. By me they have been so always. I knew that 
as long as I remained in public, I should live down the 
calumnies of malice, and the judgments of ignorance. If 



A LETTER TO A NOBLE LORD. 7 

I happened to be now and then in the wrong, as who is 
not, Uke all other men, I must bear the consequence of 
my faults and my mistakes. The libels of the present day, 
are just of the same stuff as the libels of the past. But 
they derive an importance from the rank of the persons 5 
they come from, and the gravity of the place where they 
were uttered. In some way or other I ought to take some 
notice of them. To assert myself thus traduced is not 
vanity or arrogance. It is a demand of justice ; it is a 
demonstration of gratitude. If I am unworthy, the 10 
ministers are worse than prodigal. On that hypothesis, I 
perfectly agree with the Duke of Bedford. 

For whatever I have been (I am now no more) I put 
myself on my country. I ought to be allowed a reason- 
able freedom, because I stand upon my deliverance ; and 15 
no culprit ought to plead in irons. Even in the utmost 
latitude of defensive liberty, I wish to preserve all possi- 
ble decorum. Whatever it may be in the eyes of these 
noble persons themselves, to me their situation calls for 
the most profound respect. If I should happen to tres- 20 
pass a little, which I trust I shall not, let it always be 
supposed that a confusion of characters may produce 
mistakes ; that, in the masquerades of the grand carnival 
of our age, whimsical adventures happen, odd things are 
said and pass off. If I should fail a single point in the 25 
high respect I owe to those illustrious persons, I cannot 
be supposed to mean the Duke of Bedford and the Earl 
of Lauderdale of the House of Peers, but the Duke of 
Bedford and the Earl of Lauderdale of Palace Yard — 
the Dukes and Earls of Brentford. There they are on 30 
the pavement ; there they seem to come nearer to my 
humble level, and, virtually at least, to have waived their 
high privilege. 

Making this protestation, I refuse all revolutionary 



8 EDMUND BURKE. 

tribunals, where men have been put to death for no 
other reason than that they had obtained favors from the 
crown. I claim, not the letter, but the spirit of the old 
English law — that is, to be tried by my peers. I decline 
S his Grace's jurisdiction as a judge. I challenge the 
Duke of Bedford, as a juror, to pass upon the value of 
my services. Whatever his natural parts may be, I 
cannot recognize in his few and idle years the compe- 
tence to judge of my long and laborious life. If I can 

lo help it, he shall not be on the inquest of my quantum 
meruit. Poor rich man ! he can hardly know anything of 
public industry in its exertions, or can estimate its com- 
pensations when its work is done. I have no doubt of 
his Grace's readiness in all the calculations of vulgar 

15 arithmetic ; but I shrewdly suspect that he is very little 
studied in the theory of moral proportions, and has never 
learned the rule of three in the arithmetic of policy and 
state. 

His Grace thinks I have obtained too much. I answer, 

20 that my exertions, whatever they have been, were such 
as no hopes of pecuniary reward could possibly excite ; 
and no pecuniary compensation can possibly reward 
them. Between money and such services, if done by abler 
men than I am, there is no common principle of com- 

25 parison : they are quantities incommensurable. Money 
is made for the comfort and convenience of animal life. 
It cannot be a reward for what mere animal life must, 
indeed, sustain, but never can inspire. With submission 
to his Grace, I have not had more than sufficient. As 

30 to any noble use, I trust I know how to employ as well 
as he a much greater fortune than he possesses. In a 
more confined application, I certainly stand in need of 
every kind of relief and easement much more than 
he does. When I say I have not received more than I 



A LETTER TO A NOBLE LORD. 9 

deserve — is this the language I hold to Majesty? No! 
Far, very far, from it ! Before that presence I claim no 
merit at all. Everything towards me is favor and bounty. 
One style to a gracious benefactor ; another to a proud 
and insulting foe. 5 

His Grace is pleased to aggravate my guilt, by charg- 
ing my acceptance of his Majesty's grant as a departure 
from my ideas, and the spirit of my conduct with regard 
to economy. If it be, my ideas of economy were false 
and ill founded. But they are the Duke of Bedford's 10 
ideas of economy I have contradicted, and not my own. 
If he means to allude to certain bills brought in by me 
on a message from the throne in 1782, I tell him, that 
there is nothing in my conduct that can contradict either 
the letter or the spirit of those acts. Does he mean the 15 
pay-office act ? I take it for granted he does not. The 
act to which he alludes is, I suppose, the establishment 
act. I greatly doubt whether his Grace has ever read 
the one or the other. The iirst of these systems cost 
me, with every assistance which my then situation gave 20 
me, pains incredible. I found an opinion common 
through all the offices, and general in the public at large, 
that it would prove impossible to reform and methodize 
the office of paymaster-general. I undertook it, however, 
and I succeeded in my undertaking. Whether the 25 
military service, or whether the general economy of our 
finances have profited by that act, I leave to those who 
are acquainted with the army, and with the treasury, to 
judge. 

An opinion full as general prevailed also at the same 30 
time, that nothing could be done for the regulation of 
the civil-list establishment. The very attempt to intro- 
duce method into it, and any limitations to its services, 
was held absurd. I had not seen the man, who so much 



10 EDMUND BURKE. 

as suggested one economical principle, or an economical 
expedient, upon that subject. Nothing but coarse ampu- 
tation, or coarser taxation, were then talked of, both of 
them without design, combination, or the least shadow 
5 of principle. Blind and headlong zeal, or factious fury, 
were the whole contribution brought by the most noisy 
on that occasion-, towards the satisfaction of the public, 
or the relief of the crown. 

Let me tell my youthful censor that the necessities of 

lo that time required something very different from what 
others then suggested, or what his Grace now conceives. 
Let me inform him that it was one of the most critical 
periods in our annals. 

Astronomers have supposed that, if a certain comet, 

1 5 whose path intersected the ecliptic, had met the earth in 
some (I forget what) sign, it would have whirled us along 
with it, in its eccentric course, into God knows what 
regions of heat and cold. Had the portentous comet of 
the Rights of Man (which "from its horrid hair shakes 

20 pestilence and war," and " with fear of change perplexes 
monarchs "), had that comet crossed upon us in that 
internal state of England, nothing human could have 
prevented our being irresistibly hurried out of the high- 
way of heaven into all the vices, crimes, horrors, and 

25 miseries of the French Revolution. 

Happily, France was not then Jacobinized. Her 
hostility was at a good distance. We had a limb cut off, 
but we preserved the body ; we lost our colonies, but we 
kept our Constitution. There was, indeed, much intestine 

30 heat ; there was a dreadful fermentation. Wild and savage 
insurrection quitted the woods, and prowled about our 
streets in the name of Reform. Such was the distemper 
of the public mind, that there was no madman, in his 
maddest ideas and maddest projects, who might not count 



A LETTER TO A NOBLE LORD. \\ 

upon numbers to support his principles and execute his 
designs. 

Many of the changes, by a great misnomer called 
Parliamentary Reforms, went, not in the intention of all 
the professors and supporters of them, undoubtedly, but 5 
went in their certain, and, in my opinion, not very remote 
effect, home to the utter destruction of the Constitution 
of this kingdom. Had they taken place, not France, but 
England, would have had the honor of leading up the 
death-dance of democratic revolution. Other projects, 10 
exactly coincident in time with those, struck at the very 
existence of the kingdom under any Constitution. There 
are who remember the blind fury of some, and the lamen- 
table helplessness of others; here, a torpid confusion, 
from a panic fear of the danger — there, the same inac- 15 
tion, from a stupid insensibility to it ; here, well-wishers 
to the mischief — there, indifferent lookers-on. At the 
same time, a sort of National Convention, dubious in its 
nature, and perilous in its example, nosed Parliament in 
the very seat of its authority, sat with a sort of superin- 20 
tendence over it, and little less than dictated to it, not 
only laws, but the very form and essence of legislature 
itself. In Ireland things ran in a still more eccentric 
course. Government was unnerved, confounded, and in 
a manner suspended. Its equipoise was totally gone. 25 
I do not mean to speak disrespectfully of Lord North. 
He was a man of admirable parts, of general knowledge, 
of a versatile understanding fitted for every sort of 
business, of infinite wit and pleasantry, of a delightful 
temper, and with a mind most perfectly disinterested. 3° 
But it would be only to degrade myself by a weak adula- 
tion, and not to honor the memory of a great man, to 
deny that he wanted something of the vigilance and 
spirit of command that the time required. Indeed, a 



12 EDMUA'D BURKE. 

darkness next to the fog of this awful day lowered over 
the whole region. For a little time the helm appeared 
abandoned. 

Ipse diem noctemque negat discernere coelo, 
5 Nee meminisse viaa media Palinurus in undl. 

At that time I was connected with men of high place 
in the community. They loved liberty as much as the 
Duke of Bedford can do ; and they understood it at least 
as well. Perhaps their politics, as usual, took a tincture 

10 from their character, and they cultivated what they 
loved. The liberty they pursued was a liberty insepa- 
rable from order, from virtue, from morals, and from 
religion, and was neither hypocritically nor fanatically 
followed. They did not wish that liberty, in itself 

15 one of the first of blessings, should in its perversion 
become the greatest curse which could fall upon man- 
kind. To preserve the Constitution entire, and practically 
equal to all the great ends of its formation, not in one 
single part, but in all its parts, was to them the first object. 

20 Popularity and power they regarded alike. These were 
with them only different means of obtaining that object, 
and had no preference over each other in their minds, 
but as one or the other might afford a surer or a less 
certain prospect of arriving at that end. It is some 

25 consolation to me, in the cheerless gloom which darkens 
the evening of my life, that with them I commenced my 
political career, and never for a moment, in reality nor 
in appearance, for any length of time, was separated 
from their good wishes and good opinion. 

3° By what accident it matters not, nor upon what desert, 
but just then, and in the midst of that hunt of obloquy 
which ever has pursued me with a full cry through life, I 
had obtained a very considerable degree of public confi- 



A LETTER TO A NOBLE LORD. 13 

dence. I know well enough how equivocal a test this 
kind of popular opinion forms of the merit that obtained 
it. I am no stranger to the insecurity of its tenure. I 
do not boast of it. It is mentioned to show, not how 
highly I prize the thing, but my right to value the use I 5 
made of it. I endeavored to turn that short-lived advan- 
tage to myself into a permanent benefit to my country. 
Far am I from detracting from the merit of some gentle- 
men, out of office or in it, on that occasion. No ! it is 
not my way to refuse a full and heaped measure of justice 10 
to the aids that I receive. I have through life been 
willing to give everything to others, and to reserve nothing 
for myself but the inward conscience that I had omitted 
no pains to discover, to animate, to discipline, to direct 
the abilities of the country for its service, and to place 15 
them in the best light to improve their age, or to adorn it. 
This conscience I have. I have never suppressed any 
man, never checked him for a moment in his course, by 
any jealousy, or by any policy. I was always ready, to 
the height of my means (and they were always infinitely 20 
below liiy desires), to forward those abilities which over- 
powered my own. He is an ill-furnished undertaker who 
has no machinery but his own hands to work with. Poor 
in my own faculties, I ever thought myself rich in theirs. 
In that period of difficulty and danger, more especially, I 25 
consulted and sincerely cooperated with men of all parties, 
who seemed disposed to the same ends, or to any main 
part of them. Nothing to prevent disorder was omitted : 
when it appeared, nothing to subdue it was left uncoun- 
selled nor unexecuted, as far as I could prevail. At the 30 
time I speak of, and having a momentary lead, so aided 
and so encouraged, and as a feeble instrument in a mighty 
hand — I do not say I saved my country ; I am sure I did 
my country important service. There were few, indeed. 



U EDMUiVD BURKE. 

that did not at that time acknowledge it ; and that time 
was thirteen years ago. It was but one voice, that no 
man in the kingdom better deserved an honorable pro- 
vision should be made for him. 

5 So much for my general conduct through the whole of 
the portentous crisis from 1780 to 1782, and the general 
sense then entertained of that conduct by my country. 
But my character, as a reformer, in the particular instances 
which the Duke of Bedford refers to, is so connected in 

10 principle with my opinions on the hideous changes, which 
have since barbarized France, and spreading thence, 
threaten the political and moral order of the whole world, 
that it seems to demand something of a more detailed 
discussion. 

15 My economical reforms were not, as his Grace may 
think, the suppression of a paltry pension or employment, 
more or less. Economy in my plan was, as it ought to 
be, secondary, subordinate, instrumental. I acted on 
state principles. I found a great distemper in the com- 

20 monwealth ; and, according to the nature of the evil and 
of the object, I treated it. The malady was deep ; it was 
complicated, in the causes and in the symptoms. Through- 
out it was full of contra-indicants. On one hand govern- 
ment, daily growing more invidious from an apparent 

25 increase of the means of strength, was every day growing 
more contemptible by real weakness. Nor was this 
dissolution confined to government commonly so called. 
It extended to Parliament ; which was losing not a little 
in its dignity- and estimation, by an opinion of its not 

30 acting on worthy motives. On the other hand, the desires 
of the people, (partly natural and partly infused into them 
by art) appeared in so wild and inconsiderate a manner, 
with regard to the economical object (for I set aside for 
a moment the dreadful tampering with the body of the 



A LETTER TO A NOBLE LORD. 15 

constitution itself) that if their petitions had literally been 
complied with, the state would have been convulsed ; and 
a gate would have been opened, through which all prop- 
erty might be sacked and ravaged. Nothing could have 
saved the public from the mischiefs of the false reform 5 
but its absurdity ; which would soon have brought itself, 
and with it all real reform, into discredit. This would 
have left a rankling wound in the hearts of the 
people, who would know they had failed in the accom- 
plishment of their wishes, but who, like the rest of 10 
mankind in all ages, would impute the blame to anything 
rather than to their own proceedings. But there were 
then persons in the world, who nourished complaint ; and 
would have been thoroughly disappointed if the people 
were ever satisfied. I was not of that humor. I wished 15 
that they should be satisfied. It was my aim to give to 
the people the substance of what I knew they desired, 
and what I thought was right whether they desired it or 
not, before it had been modified for them into senseless 
petitions. I knew that there is a manifest marked dis- 20 
tinction, which ill men, with ill designs, or weak men 
incapable of any design, will constantly be confounding, 
that is, a marked distinction between change and reforma- 
tion. The former alters the substance of the objects 
themselves ; and gets rid of all their essential good, as 25 
well as of all the accidental evil annexed to them. Change 
is novelty; and whether it is to operate any one of the 
effects of reformation at all, or whether it may not con- 
tradict the very principle upon which reformation is 
desired, cannot be certainly known beforehand. Reform 3° 
is, not a change in the substance, or in the primary 
modification of the object, but a direct application of a 
remedy to the grievance complained of. So far as that is 
removed, all is sure. It stops there ; and if it fails, the 



16 EDMUND BURKE. 

substance which underwent the operation, at the very 
worst, is but where it was. 

All this, in effect, I think, but am not sure, I have said 
elsewhere. It cannot at this time be too often repeated, 
5 line upon line, precept upon precept, until it comes into 
the currency of a proverb. To innovate is not to reform. 
The French revolutionists complained of everything ; they 
refused to reform anything; and they left nothing, no, 
nothing at all, imchanged. The consequences are before 

10 us, not in remote history, not in future prognostication : 
they are about us, they are upon us. They shake the 
public security ; they menace private enjoyment. They 
dwarf the growth of the young ; they break the quiet of 
the old. If we travel, they stop our way. They infest us 

15 in town; they pursue us to the country. Our business- 
is interrupted, our repose is troubled, our pleasures arf 
saddened, our very studies are poisoned and perverted, 
and knowledge is rendered worse than ignorance by the 
enormous evils of this dreadful innovation. The revolu 

20 tion harpies of France, sprung from night and hell, 01 
from that chaotic anarchy, which generates equivocally 
"all monstrous, all prodigious things," cuckoo-like, adul- 
terously lay their eggs, and brood over, and hatch them in 
the nest of every neighboring state. These obscene 

25 harpies, who deck themselves, in I know not what divine 
attributes, but who in reality are foul and ravenous birds 
of prey (both mothers and daughters) flutter over our 
heads, and souse down upon our tables, and leave nothing 
unrent, unrifled, unravaged, or unpolluted with the slime 

30 of their filthy offal. ^ 

^ Tristius haud illis monstrum, nee saevior uUa 
Pestis, & ira Deiim Stygiis sese extulit undis. 
Virginei volucnim vultus ; faedissima ventris 
Proluvies ; uncaeque manus ; & pallida semper 
Ora fame — 



A LETTER TO A NOBLE LORD. 17 

If his Grace can contemplate the result of this complete 
innovation, or, as some friends of his will call it, reform, 
in the whole body of its solidity and compound- mass, at 
which, as Hamlet says, the face of heaven glows with 
horror and indignation, and which, in truth, makes every 5 
reflecting mind and every feeling heart perfectly thought- 
sick, without a thorough abhorrence of everything they 
say and everything they do, I a"m amazed at the morbid 
strength or the natural infirmity of his mind. 

It was, then, not my love, but my hatred to innovation, 10 
that produced my plan of reform. Without troubling 
myself with the exactness of the logical diagram, I con- 
sidered them as things substantially opposite. It was to 
prevent that evil that I proposed the measures which his 
Grace is pleased, and I am not sorry he is pleased, to 15 
recall to my recollection. I had (what I hope that noble 
Duke will remember in all his operations) a state to pre- 
serve, as well as a state to reform. I had a people to 
gratify, but not to inflame or to mislead. I do not claim 
half the credit for what I did as for what I prevented from 20 
being done. In that situation of the public mind, I did 
not undertake, as was then proposed, to new-model the 
House of Commons or the House of Lords, or to change 
the authority under which any oiBcer of the crown acted, 
who was suffered at all to exist. Crown, lords, commons, 25 
judicial system, system of administration, existed as they 
had existed before, and in the mode and manner in which 

Here the Poet breaks the Ime, because he (and that He is Virgil) 
had not verse or language to describe that monster even as he had 
conceived her. Had he lived to our time, he would have been more 
overpowered with the reality than he was with the imagination. 
Virgil only knew the horror of the times before him. Had he lived 
to see the revolutionists and constitutionalists of France, he would 
have had more horrid and disgusting features of his harpies to 
describe, and more frequent failures in the attempt to describe them. 



IS EDAR/ND BURKE. 

they had always existed. My measures were, what I then 
truly stated them to the House to be, in their intent, heal- 
ing and mediatorial. A complaint was made of too much 
influence in the House of Commons : I reduced it in both 
5 Houses ; and I gave my reasons, article by article, for 
every reduction, and showed why I thought it safe for the 
service of the state. I heaved the lead every inch of way 
I made. A disposition to expense was complained of : to 
that I opposed, not mere retrenchment, but a system of 

10 economy, which would make a random expense, without 
plan or foresight, in future, not easily practicable. I pro- 
ceeded upon principles of research to put me in posses- 
sion of my matter; on principles of method to regulate 
it ; and on principles in the human mind and in civil 

15 affairs to secure and perpetuate the operation. I con- 
ceived nothing arbitrarily ; nor proposed anything to be 
done by the will and pleasure of others, or my own ; but 
by reason, and by reason only. I have ever abhorred, 
since the first dawn of my understanding to this its 

20 obscure twilight, all the operations of opinion, fancy, incli- 
nation, and will, in the affairs of government, where only 
a sovereign reason, paramount to all forms of legislation 
and administration, should dictate. Government is made 
for the very purpose of opposing that reason to will and 

25 to caprice, in the reformers or in the reformed, in the 
governors or in the governed, in kings, in senates, or in 
people. 

On a careful review, therefore, and analysis, of all the 
component parts of the civil list, and on weighing them 

30 against each other, in order to make, as much as possible, 
all of them a subject of estimate (the foundation and corner- 
stone of all regular provident economy) it appeared to me 
evident, that this was impracticable, whilst that part, 
called the pension list, was totally discretionary in its 



A LETTER TO A NOBLE LORD. 19 

amount. For this reason, and for this only, I proposed 
to reduce it, both in its gross quantity, and in its larger 
individual proportions, to a certainty : lest, if it were left 
without a general limit, it might eat up the civil list ser- 
vice ; if suffered to be granted in portions too great for the 5 
fund, it might defeat its own end ; and by unlimited allow- 
ances to some, it might disable the crown in means of 
providing for others. The pension list was to be kept as 
a sacred fund; but it could not be kept as a constant 
open fund, sufficient for growing demands, if some 10 
demands would wholly devour it. The tenor of the act 
will show that it regarded the civil list only, the reduc- 
tion of which to some sort of estimate was my great 
object. 

No other of the crown funds did I meddle with, be- 15 
cause they had not the same relations. This of the four 
and a half per cents does his Grace imagine had escaped 
me, or had escaped all the men of business, who acted 
with me in those regulations? I knew that such a fund 
existed, and that pensions had been always granted on it, 20 
before his Grace was born. This fund was full in my 
eye. It was full in the eyes of those who worked with 
me. It was left on principle. On principle I did what 
was then done ; and on principle what was left undone 
was omitted. I did not dare to rob the nation of all 25 
funds to reward merit. If I pressed this point too close, 
I acted contrary to the avowed principles on which I 
went. Gentlemen are very fond of quoting me ; but if any 
one thinks it worth his while to know the rules that guided 
me in my plan of reform, he will read my printed speech 30 
on that subject ; at least what is contained from page 230 
to page 241 in the second volume of the collection which 
a friend has given himself the trouble to make of my 
publications. Be this as it may, these two bills (though 



20 EDMUND BURKE. 

achieved with the greatest labor, and management of 
every sort, both within and without the house) were only 
a part, and but a small part, of a very large system, 
comprehending all the objects I stated in opening my 
5 proposition, and indeed many more, which I just hinted 
at in my speech to the. electors of Bristol, when I was put 
out of that representation. All these, in some state or 
other of forwardness, I have long had by me. 

But do I justify his Majesty's grace on these grounds? 

lo I think them the least of my services. The time gave 
them an occasional value. What I have done in the way 
of political economy was far from confined to this body of 
measures. I did not come into Parliament to con my 
lesson. I had earned my pension before I set my foot in 

15 St. Stephen's Chapel. I was prepared and disciplined to 
this political warfare. The first session I sat in Parlia- 
ment, I found it necessary to analyze the whole commer- 
cial, financial, constitutional, and foreign interests of Great 
Britain and its empire. A great deal was then done ; and 

20 more, far more, would have been done, if more had been 
permitted by events. Then, in the vigor of my manhood, 
my constitution sunk under my labor. Had I then died 
(and I seemed to myself very near death), I had then 
earned for those who belonged to me more than the Duke 

25 of Bedford's ideas of service are of power to estimate. 
But, in truth, these services I am called to account for 
are not those on which I value myself the most. If I 
were to call for a reward (which I have never done), it 
should be for those in which, for fourteen years without 

30 intermission, I showed the most industry and had the 
least success ; I mean in the affairs of India. They are 
those on which I value myself the most; most for the 
importance, most for the labor, most for the judgment, 
most for constancy and perseverance in the pursuit. 



A LETTER TO A NOBLE LORD. 21 

Others may value them most for the intention. In that, 
surely, they are not mistaken. 

Does his Grace think, that they who advised the crown 
to make my retreat easy, considered me only as an econo- 
mist? That, well understood, however is a good deal. If 5 
I had not deemed it of some value, I should not have 
made political economy an object of my humble studies, 
from my very early youth to near the end of my service 
in Parliament, even before, (at least to any knowledge of 
mine) it had employed the thoughts of speculative men in 10 
other parts of Europe. At that time it was still in its 
infancy in England, where, in the last century, it had its 
origin. Great and learned men thought my studies were 
not wholly thrown away, and deigned to communicate 
with me now and then on some particulars of their 'S 
immortal works. Something of these studies may appear 
incidentally in some of the earliest things I published. 
The House has been witness to their effect, and has 
profited of them more or less, for above eight and twenty 
years. To their estimate I leave the matter. 20 

I was not, like his Grace of Bedford, swaddled, and 
rocked, and dandled into a legislator : "JViiorin adversum" 
is the motto for a man like me. I possessed not one of the 
qualities, nor cultivated one of the arts, that recommend 
men to the favor and protection of the great. I was not 25 
made for a minion or a tool. As little did I follow the 
trade of winning the hearts by imposing on the under- 
standings of the people. At every step of my progress in 
life (for in every step was I traversed and opposed), and 
at every turnpike I met, I was obliged to show my pass- 3° 
port, and again and again to prove my sole title to the 
honor of being useful to my country, by a proof that I 
was not wholly unacquainted with its laws, and the whole 
system of its interests both abroad and at home. Other- 



22 EDMUXD BURKE. 

wise, no rank, no toleration even, for me. I had no arts 
but manly arts. On them I have stood, and, please God, 
in spite of the Duke of Bedford and the Earl of Lauder- 
dale, to the last gasp will I stand. 
5 Had his Grace condescended to inquire concerning the 
person whom he has not thought it below him to reproach, 
he might have found, that, in the whole course of my 
life, I have never, on any pretence of economy, or any 
other pretence, so much as in a single instance, stood 

10 between any man and his reward of service or his 
encouragement in useful talent and pursuit, from the high- 
est of those services and pursuits to the lowest. On the 
contrary, I have on a hundred occasions exerted myself 
with singular zeal to forward every man's even tolerable 

15 pretensions. I have more than once had good-natured 
reprehensions from my friends for carrying the matter to 
something bordering on abuse. This line of conduct, 
whatever its merit might be, was partly owing to natural 
disposition, but I think full as much to reason and prin- 

20 ciple. I looked on the consideration of public service or 
public ornament to be real and very justice ; and I ever 
held a scanty and penurious justice to partake of the 
nature of a wrong. I held it to be, in its consequences, 
the worst economy in the world. In saving money I soon 

25 can count up all the good I do ; but when by a cold 
penury I blast the abilities of a nation, and stunt the 
growth of its active energies, the ill I may do is beyond 
all calculation. Whether it be too much or too little, what- 
ever I have done has been general and systematic. I 

30 have never entered into those trifling vexations, and oppres- 
sive details, that have been falsely and most ridiculously 
laid to my charge. 

Did I blame the pensions given to Mr. Barre and Mr. 
Dunning between the proposition and execution of my 



A LETTER TO A NOBLE LORD. 23 

plan? No! surely, no ! Those pensions were within my 
principles. I assert it, those gentlemen deserved their 
pensions, their titles, — all they had ; and if more they 
had, I should have been but pleased the more. They 
were men of talents; they were men of service. I put s 
the profession of the law out of the question in one of 
them. It is a service that rewards itself. But their 
public service, though, from their abilities unquestionably 
of more value than mine, in its quantity and in its dura- 
tion was not to be mentioned with it. But I never could lo 
drive a hard bargain in my life, concerning any matter 
whatever ; and least of all do I know how to haggle and 
huckster with merit. Pension for myself I obtained none ; 
nor did I solicit any. Yet I was loaded with hatred for 
everything that was withheld, and with obloquy for 15 
everything that was given. I was thus left to support the 
grants of a name ever dear to me, and ever venerable to 
the world, in favor of those, who were no friends of mine 
or of his, against the rude attacks of those who were at that 
time friends to the grantees, and their own zealous parti- 20 
sans. I have never heard the Earl of Lauderdale com- 
plain of these pensions. He finds nothing wrong till he 
comes to me. This is impartiality, in the true modern 
revolutionary style. 

Whatever I did at that time, so far as it regarded order 25 
and economy, is stable and eternal ; as all principles must 
be. A particular order of things may be altered ; order 
itself cannot lose its value. As to other particulars, they 
are variable by time and by circumstances. Laws of 
regulation are not fundamental laws. The public exigen- 30 
cies are the masters of all such laws. They rule the laws, 
and are not to be ruled by them. They who exercise the 
legislative power at the time must judge. 

It may be new to his Grace, but I beg leave to tell him 



24 EDMUND BURKE. 

that mere parsimony is not economy. It is separable in 
theory from it ; and in fact it may or it may not be a part 
of economy, according to circumstances. Expense, and 
great expense, may be an essential part in true economy. 
5 If parsimony were to be considered as one of the kinds 
of that virtue, there is, however, another and a higher 
economy. Economy is a distributive virtue, and consists, 
not in saving, but in selection. Parsimony requires no 
providence, no sagacity, no powers of combination, no 

10 comparison, no judgment. Mere instinct, and that not 
an instinct of the noblest kind, may produce this false 
economy in perfection. The other economy has larger 
views. It demands a discriminating judgment, and a 
firm, sagacious mind. It shuts one door to impudent 

15 importunity, only to open another, and a wider, to unpre- 
suming merit. If none but meritorious service or real 
talent were to be rewarded, this nation has not wanted, 
and this nation will not want, the means of rewarding all 
the service it ever will receive, and encouraging all the 

20 merit it ever will produce. No state, since the foundation 
of society, has been impoverished by that species of 
profusion. Had the economy of selection and proportion 
been at all times observed, we should not now have had 
an overgrown Duke of Bedford, to oppress the industry 

25 of humble men, and to limit, by the standard of his own 
conceptions, the justice, the bounty, or, if he pleases, the 
charity of the crown. 

His Grace may think as meanly as he will of my 
deserts in the far greater part of my conduct in life. It 

30 is free for him to do so. There will always be some 
difference of opinion in the value of political services. 
But there is one merit of mine which he, of all men 
living, ought to be the last to call in question. I have 
supported with very great zeal, and I am told with some 



A LETTER TO A NOBLE LORD. 25 

degree of success, those opinions, or, if his Grace likes 
another expression better, those old prejudices, which 
buoy up the ponderous mass of his nobility, wealth, and 
titles. I have omitted no exertion to prevent him and 
them from sinking to that level, to which the meretricious s 
French faction, his Grace at least coquets with, omit no 
exertion to reduce both. I have done all I could to 
discountenance their inquiries into the fortunes of those 
who hold large portions of wealth without any apparent 
merit of their own. I have strained every nerve to keep lo 
the Duke of Bedford in that situation which alone makes 
him my superior. Your lordship has been a witness of 
the use he makes of that preeminence. 

But be it, that this is virtue ! Be it, that there is virtue 
in this well selected rigor ; yet all virtues are not equally 1 5 
becoming to all men and at all times. There are crimes, 
undoubtedly there are crimes, which in all seasons of our 
existence, ought to put a generous antipathy in action ; 
crimes that provoke an indignant justice, and call forth a 
warm and animated pursuit. But all things, that concern, 20 
what I may call, the preventive police of morality, all 
things merely rigid, harsh and censorial, the antiquated 
moralists, at whose feet I was brought up, would not have 
thought these the fittest matter to form the favorite 
virtues of young men of rank. What might have been 25 
well enough, and have been received with a veneration 
mixed with awe and terror, from an old, severe, crabbed 
Cato, would have wanted something of propriety in the 
young Scipios, the ornament of the Roman nobility, in the 
flower of their life. But the times, the morals, the 30 
masters, the scholars have all undergone a thorough 
revolution. It is a vile illiberal school, this new French 
academy of sans culottes. There is nothing in it that is 
fit for a gentleman to learn. 



26 EDMUXD BURKE. 

Whatever its vogue may be, I still flatter myself, that 
the parents of the growing generation will be satisfied 
with what is to be taught to their children in Westminster, 
in Eton, or in Winchester : I still indulge the hope that 
S no grown gentleman or nobleman of our time will think of 
finishing at Mr. Thelwall's lecture whatever may have 
been left incomplete at the old universities of his country. 
I would give to Lord Grenville and Mr. Pitt for a motto, 
what was said of a Roman censor or praetor (or what was 
10 he), who in virtue of a Senatus consultum shut up certain 
academies, 

" Cludere ludum impudentias jussit." 

Every honest father of a family in the kingdom will 
rejoice at the breaking up for the holidays, and will pray 

1 5 that there may be very long vacations in all such schools. 

The awful state of the time, and not myself or my own 

justification, is my true object in what I now write ; or in 

what I shall ever write or say. It little signifies to the 

world what becomes of such things as me, or even as the 

2o Duke of Bedford. What I say about either of us is 
nothing more than a vehicle, as you, my Lord, will easily 
perceive, to convey my sentiments on matters far more 
worthy of your attention. It is when I stick to my 
apparent first subject that I ought to apologize, not when 

25 I depart from it. I therefore must beg your Lordship's 
pardon for again resuming it after this very short digres- 
sion ; assuring you that I shall never altogether lose sight 
of such matter as persons abler than I am may turn to 
some profit. 

3° The Duke of Bedford conceives that he is obliged to 
call the attention of the House of Peers to his Majesty's 
grant to me, which he considers as excessive and out of 
all bounds. 



A LETTER TO A NOBLE LORD. 27 

I know not how it has happened, but it really seems, 
that, whilst his Grace was meditating his well-considered 
censure upon me, he fell into a sort of sleep. Homer 
nods, and the Duke of Bedford may dream; and as 
dreams (even his golden dreams) are apt to be ill-pieced 5 
and incongruously put together, his Grace preserved his 
idea of reproach to me, but took the subject-matter from 
the crown grants to his own family. This is "the stuif of 
which his dreams are made." In that way of putting 
things together his Grace is perfectly in the right. The 10 
grants to the house of Russell were so enormous as not 
only to outrage economy, but even to stagger credibility. 
The Duke of Bedford is the leviathan among all the 
creatures of the crown. He tumbles about his unwieldy 
bulk, he plays and frolics in the ocean of the royal bounty. 15 
Huge as he is, and whilst "he lies floating many a rood," 
he is still a creature. His ribs, his fins, his whalebone, 
his blubber, the very spiracles through which he spouts a 
torrent of brine against his origin, and covers me all over 
with the spray, everything of him and about him is from 20 
the throne. Is it for him to question the dispensation of 
the royal favor ? 

I really am at loss to draw any sort of parallel between 
the public merits of his Grace, by which he justifies the 
grants he holds, and these services of mine, on the favor- 25 
able construction of which I have obtained what his Grace 
so much disapproves. In private life, I have not at all 
the honor of acquaintance with the noble Duke ; but I 
ought to presume, — and it costs me nothing to do so, — 
that he abundantly deserves the esteem and love of all 30 
who live with him. But as to public service, why, truly, 
it would not be more ridiculous for me to compare myself, 
in rank, in fortune, in splendid descent, in youth, strength, 
or figure, with the Duke of Bedford, than to make a 



28 EDMUND BUKKE. 

parallel between his services and my attempts to be useful 
to my country. It would not be gross adulation, but un- 
civil irony, to say that he has any public merit of his own 
to keep alive the idea of the services by which his vast 

5 landed pensions were obtained. My merits, whatever they 
are, are original and personal : his are derivative. It is 
his ancestor, the original pensioner, that has laid up this 
inexhaustible fund of merit which makes his Grace so very 
delicate and exceptious about the merit of all other gran- 

lo tees of the crown. Had he permitted me to remain in 
quiet, I should have said, "'T is his estate : that's enough. 
It is his by law : what have I to do with it or its history ? " 
He would naturally have said, on his side, "'Tis this man's 
fortune. He is as good now as my ancestor was two 

15 hundred and fifty years ago. I am a young man with 
very old pensions ; he is an old man with very young 
pensions — that 's .all." 

Will his Grace, by attacking me, force me reluctantly to 
compare my little merit with that which obtained from 

20 the crown those prodigies of profuse donation by which 
he tramples on the mediocrity of humble and laborious 
individuals ? I would willingly leave him to the herald's 
college, which the philosophy of the sans culottes, (prouder 
by far than all the garters, and Norroys and Clarencieux, 

25 and rouge dragons that ever pranced in a procession of 
what his friends call aristocrats and despots) will abolish 
with contumely and scorn. These historians, recorders, 
and blazoners of virtues and arms, differ wholly from 
that other description of historians, who never assign any 

30 act of politicians to a good motive. These gentle histo- 
rians, on the contrary, dip their pens in nothing but the 
milk of human kindness. They seek no further for merit 
than the preamble of a patent, or the inscription on a 
tomb. With them every man created a peer is first an 



A LETTER TO A NOBLE LORD. 29 

hero ready made. They judge of every man's capacity 
for office by the offices he has filled ; and the more offices 
the more ability. Every general officer with them' is a 
Marlborough; every statesman a Burleigh ; every judge a 
Murray or a Yorke. They, who alive, were laughed at or 5 
pitied by all their acquaintance, make as good a figure as 
the best of them in the pages of Guillim, Edmondson, and 
Collins. To these recorders, so full of good nature to the 
great and prosperous, I would willingly leave the first 
Baron Russell, and Earl of Bedford, and the merits of his 10 
grants. But the aulnager, the weigher, the meter of 
grants, will not suffer us to acquiesce in the judgment of 
the prince reigning at the time when they were made. 
They are never good to those who earn them. Well then ; 
since the new grantees have war made on them by the 15 
old, and that the word of the sovereign is not to be taken, 
let us turn our eyes to history, in which great men have 
always a pleasure in contemplating the heroic origin of 
their house. 

The first peer of the name, the first purchaser of the 20 
grants, was a Mr. Russell, a person of an ancient gentle- 
man's family, raised by being a minion of Henry the 
Eighth. As there generally is some resemblance of char- 
acter to create these relations, the favorite was in all likeli- 
hood much such another as his master. The first of 25 
those immoderate grants was not taken from the ancient 
demesne of the crown, but from the recent confiscation 
of the ancient nobility of the land. The lion, having 
sucked the blood of his prey, threw the offal carcass to 
the jackal in waiting. Having tasted once the food of 3° 
confiscation, the favorites became fierce and ravenous. 
This worthy favorite's first grant was from the lay nobility. 
The second, infinitely improving on the enormity of the 
first, was from the plunder of the church. In truth, his 



30 ED.MUXD BURKE. 

Grace is somewhat excusable for his dislike to a grant 
like mine, not only in its quantity, but in its kind, so 
different from his own. 

Mine was from a mild and benevolent sovereign ; his 
5 from Henry the Eighth. 

Mine had not its fund in the murder of any innocent 
person of illustrious rank,^ or in the pillage of any body 
of unoffending men. His grants were from the aggregate 
and consolidated funds of judgments iniquitously legal, 

10 and from possessions voluntarily surrendered by the law- 
ful proprietors with the gibbet at their door. 

The merit of the grantee whom he derives from was 
that of being a prompt and greedy instrument of a levelling 
tyrant, who oppressed all descriptions of his people, but 

1 5 who fell with particular fury on everything that was great 
and noble. Mine has been in endeavoring to screen every 
man, in every class, from oppression, and particularly in 
defending the high and eminent, who, in the bad times of 
confiscating princes, confiscating chief governors, or con- 

20 fiscating demagogues, are the most exposed to jealousy, 
avarice, and envy. 

The merit of the original grantee of his Grace's pen- 
sions was in giving his hand to the work, and partaking 
the spoil, with a prince who plundered a part of the 

25 national church of his time and country. Mine was in 
defending the whole of the national church of my own 
time and my own country, and the whole of the national 
churches of all countries, from the principles and the 
examples which lead to ecclesiastical pillage, thence to a 

^ See history of the melancholy catastrophe of the Duke of Buck- 
ingham. Temp. Hen. 8. 

King Henry gave to his favorite the manor of Amersham, in 
Bucks, part of the estate of Edward Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, 
attainted in 1521. [Ed.] 



A LETTER TO A NOBLE LORD. 31 

contempt of all prescriptive titles, tlience to the pillage of 
all property, and thence to universal desolation. 

The merit of the origin of his Grace's fortune was in 
being a favorite and chief adviser to a prince who left no 
liberty to their native country. My endeavor was to ob- 5 
tain liberty for the municipal country in which I was born, 
and for all descriptions and denominations in it. Mine 
was to support with unrelaxing vigilance every right, every 
privilege, every franchise, in this my adopted, my dearer, 
and more comprehensive country ; and not only to pre- 10 
serve those rights in this chief seat of empire, but in every 
nation, in every land, in every climate, language, and 
religion, in the vast domain that still is under the protec- 
tion, and the larger that was once under the protection, 
of the British crown. ts 

His founder's merits were, by arts in which he served 
his master and made his fortune, to bring poverty, wretch- 
edness, and depopulation on his country. Mine were 
under a benevolent prince, in promoting the commerce, 
manufactures, and agriculture of his kingdom, — in which 20 
his Majesty shows an eminent example, who even in his 
amusement is a patriot, and in hours of leisure an improver 
of his native soil. 

His founder's merit was the merit of a gentleman raised 
by the arts of a court and the protection of a Wolsey to 25 
the eminence of a great and potent lord. His merit in 
that eminence was, by instigating a tyrant to injustice, to 
provoke a people to rebellion. My merit was, to awaken 
the sober part of the country, that they might put them- 
selves on their guard against any one potent lord, or any 30 
greater number of potent lords, or any combination of 
great leading men of any sort, if ever they should attempt 
to proceed in the same courses, but in the reverse order, 
— that is, by instigating a corrupted populace to rebellion, 



32 EDMUXD BUKKE. 

and, through that rebellion, introducing a tyranny yet 
worse than the tyranny which his Grace's ancestor sup- 
ported, and of which he profited in the manner we behold 
in the despotism of Henry the Eighth. 
5 The political merit of the first pensioner of his Grace's 
house, was that of being concerned as a counsellor of 
state in advising, and in his person executing the condi- 
tions of a dishonorable peace with France ; the surren- 
dering the fortress of Boulogne, then our out-guard on the 

10 continent. By that surrender, Calais, the key of France, 
and the bridle in the mouth of that power, was, not many 
years afterwards, finally lost. My merit has been in 
resisting the power and pride of France, under any form 
of its rule; but in opposing it with the greatest zeal and 

1 5 earnestness, when that rule appeared in the worst form it 
could assume ; the worst indeed which the prime cause 
and principle of all evil could possibly give it. It was 
my endeavor by every means to excite a spirit in the 
House, where I had the honor of a seat, for carrying 

2o on with early vigor and decision, the most clearly just 
and necessary war, that this or any nation ever carried 
on ; in order to save my country from the iron yoke of 
its power, and from the more dreadful contagion of its 
principles; to preserve, while they can be preserved, pure 

25 and untainted, the ancient, inbred integrity, piety, good 
nature, and good humor of the people of England, 
from the dreadful pestilence which beginning in France, 
threatens to lay waste the whole moral, and in a great 
degree the whole physical world, having done both in the 

30 focus of its most intense malignity. 

The labors of his Grace's founder merited the curses, 
not loud but deep, of the Commons of England, on whom 
he and his master had effected a complete Parliamentary 
reform, by making them in their slavery and humiliation, 



A LETTER TO A NOBLE LORD. 33 

the true and adequate representatives of a debased, 
degraded, and undone people. My merits were, in having 
had an active, though not always an ostentatious share, in 
every one act, without exception, of undisputed constitu- 
tional utility in my time, and in having supported on all 5 
occasions, the authority, and efficiency, and the privileges 
of the Commons of Great Britain. I ended my services by 
a recorded and fully reasoned assertion on their own 
journals of their constitutional rights, and a vindication 
of their constitutional conduct. I labored in all things 10 
to merit their inward approbation, and (along with the 
assistance of the largest, and greatest, and best of my 
endeavors) I received their free, unbiassed, pubHc, and 
solemn thanks. 

Thus stands the account of the comparative merits 15 
of the Crown grants which compose the Duke of Bed- 
ford's fortune as balanced against mine. In the name of 
common sense, why should the Duke of Bedford think 
that none but of the House of Russell are entitled to the 
favor of the Crown. Why should he imagine that no 20 
king of England has been capable of judging of merit but 
King Henry the Eighth ? Indeed, he will pardon me, he 
is a little mistaken : all virtue did not end in the first 
Earl of Bedford ; all discernment did not lose its vision 
when his creator closed his eyes. Let him remit his 25 
rigor on the disproportion between merit and reward in 
others, and they will make no inquiry into the origin of 
his fortune. They will regard with much more satisfac- 
tion, as he will contemplate with infinitely more advantage, 
whatever in his pedigree has been dulcified by an exposure 30 
to the influence of heaven in a long flow of generations 
from the hard, acidulous, metallic tincture of the spring. 
It is little to be doubted that several of his forefathers in' 
that long series have degenerated into honor and virtue. 



34 EDMUND BURKE. 

Let the Duke of Bedford (I am sure he will) reject with 
scorn and horror, the counsels of the lecturers, those 
wicked panders to avarice and ambition, who would 
tempt him in the troubles of his country, to seek another 
5 enormous fortune from the forfeitures of another nobility, 
and the plunder of another church. Let him (and I 
trust that yet he will) employ all the energy of his youth, 
and all the resources of his wealth, to crush rebellious 
principles which have no foundation in morals, and re- 

10 bellious movements, that have no provocation in tyranny. 
Then will be forgot the rebellions, which, by a doubtful 
priority in crime, his ancestor had provoked and extin- 
guished. On such a conduct in the noble Duke, many of 
his countrymen might, and with some excuse might, give 

15 way to the enthusiasm of their gratitude, and in the 
dashing style of some of the old declaimers, cry out, 
that if the fates had found no other way in which 
they could give a ^Duke of Bedford and his opulence as 
props to a tottering world, then the butchery of the Duke 

20 of Buckingham might be tolerated ; it might be regarded 
even with complacency, whilst in the heir of confiscation 
they saw the sympathizing comforter of the martyrs, who 
suffer under the cruel confiscation of this day ; whilst they 
beheld with admiration his zealous protection of the 

25 virtuous and loyal nobility of France, and his manly 
support of his brethren, the yet standing nobility and 
gentry of his native land. Then his Grace's merit would 
be pure and new, and sharp, as fresh from the mint of 
honor. As he pleased he might reflect honor on his 

30 predecessors, or throw it forward on those who were to 
succeed him. He might be the propagator of the stock 
of honor, or the root of it, as he thought proper. 

Had it pleased God to continue to me the hopes of 
1 At si non aliam ventiiro fata Neroni, etc. 



A LETTER TO A NOBLE LOUD. 35 

succession, I should have been, according to my medioc- 
rity and the mediocrity of the age I live in, a sort of 
founder of a family : I should have left a son, who, in all 
the points in which personal merit can be viewed, in 
science, in erudition, in genius, in taste, in honor, in S 
generosity, in humanity, in every liberal sentiment and 
every liberal accomplishment, would not have shown 
himself inferior to the Duke of Bedford, or to any of 
those whom he traces in his line. His Grace very soon 
would have wanted all plausibility in his attack upon that lo 
provision which belonged more to mine than to me. He 
would soon have supplied every deficiency, and symme- 
trized every disproportion. It would not have been for 
that successor to resort to any stagnant, wasting reservoir 
of merit in me, or in any ancestry. He had in himself a 15 
salient, living spring of generous and manly action. Every 
day he lived he would have repurchased the bounty of 
the Crown, and ten times more, if ten times more he had 
received. He was made a public creature, and had no 
enjoyment whatever but in the performance of some duty. 20 
At this exigent moment the loss of a finished man is not 
easily supplied. 

But a Disposer whose power we are little able to resist, 
and whose wisdom it behooves us not at all to dispute, 
has ordained it in another manner, and (whatever my 25 
querulous weakness might suggest) a far better. The 
storm has gone over me ; and I lie like one of those old 
oaks which the late hurricane has scattered about me. 
I am stripped of all my honors, I am torn up by the 
roots, and lie prostrate on the earth. There, and pros- 3° 
trate there, I most unfeignedly recognize the divine 
justice, and in some degree submit to it. But whilst I 
humble myself before God, I do not know that it is for- 
bidden to repel the attacks of unjust and inconsiderate 



36 EDMUND BURKE. 

men. The patience of Job is proverbial. After some of 
the convulsive struggles of our irritable nature, he sub- 
mitted himself, and repented in dust and ashes. But 
even so I do not find him blamed for reprehending, and 
5 with a considerable degree of verbal asperity, those ill- 
natured neighbors of his who visited his dunghill to read 
moral, political, and economical lectures on his misery. 
I am alone. I have none to meet my enemies in the 
gate. Indeed, my lord, I greatly deceive myself if in this 

10 hard season I would give a peck of refuse wheat for all 
that is called fame and honor in the world. This is the 
appetite but of a few. It is a luxury, it is a privilege, it 
is an indulgence for those who are at their ease. But we 
are all of us made to shun disgrace, as we are made to 

IS shrink from pain, and poverty, and disease. It is an 
instinct ; and under the direction of reason, instinct is 
always in the right. I live in an inverted order. They 
who ought to have succeeded me are gone before me. 
They who should have been to me as posterity are in the 

20 place of ancestors. I owe to the dearest relation (which 
ever must subsist in memory) that act of piety which he 
would have performed to me : I owe it to him to show 
that he was not descended, as the Duke of Bedford would 
have it, from an unworthy parent. 

25 The Crown has considered me after long service : the 
Crown has paid the Duke of Bedford by advance. He 
has had a long credit for any service which he may per- 
form hereafter. He is secure, and long may he be secure, 
in his advance, whether he performs any services or not. 

30 But let him take care how he endangers the safety of that 
Constitution which secures his own utility or his own 
insignificance, or how he discourages those who take up 
even puny arms to defend an order of things which, like 
the sun of heaven, shines alike on the useful and the 



A LETTER TO A NOBLE LORD. 37 

worthless. His grants are engrafted on the public law of 
Europe, covered with the awful hoar of innumerable ages. 
They are guarded by the sacred rules of prescription 
found in that full treasury of jurisprudence from which 
the jejuneness and penury of our municipal law has by 5 
degrees been enriched and strengthened. This prescrip- 
tion I had my share (a very full share) in bringing to its 
perfection.' The Duke of Bedford will stand as long as 
prescriptive law endures — as long as the great, stable 
laws of property, common to us with all civilized nations, 10 
are kept in their integrity, and without the smallest 
intermixture of the laws, maxims, principles, or precedents 
of the grand Revolution. They are secure against all 
changes but one. The whole Revolutionary system, 
institutes, digest, code, novels, text, gloss, comment, are 15 
not only not the same, but they are the very reverse, and 
the reverse fundamentally, of all the laws on which civil 
life has hitherto been upheld in all the governments of 
the world. The learned professors of the rights of man 
regard prescription not as a title to bar all claim set up 20 
against old possession, but they look on prescription as 
itself a bar against the possessor and proprietor. They 
hold an immemorial possession to be no more than a 
long-continued, and therefore an aggravated injustice. 

Such are their ideas, such their religion, and such their 25 
law. But as to our country, and our race, as long as the 
well-compacted structure of our church and state, the 
sanctuary, the holy of holies of that ancient law, defended 
by reverence, defended by power, a fortress at once and 
a temple, shall stand inviolate on the brow of the British 30 
Sion — as long as the British monarchy, not more limited 
than fenced by the orders of the State, shall, like the 
proud Keep of Windsor, rising in the majesty of propor- 
' Sir George Sa%'ile's Act, called the Nullum Tempus Act. 



3S EVMUND BURKE. 

tion, and girt with the double belt of its kindred and 
coeval towers — as long as this awful structure shall 
oversee and guard the subjected land, so long the mounds 
and dikes of the low, fat, Bedford level will have nothing 

5 to fear from all the pickaxes of all the levellers of France. 
As long as our sovereign lord the king, and his faithful 
subjects, the lords and commons of this realm, — the 
triple cord which no man can break, — the solemn, sworn, 
constitutional frank-pledge of this nation, the firm guar- 

10 antees of each other's being and each other's rights, the 
joint and several securities, each in its place and order, 
for every kind and ever}' quality of property and of dignity, 
— as long as these endure, so long the Duke of Bedford 
is safe, and we are all safe together, the high from the 

IS blights of envy and the spoliations of rapacity, the low 
from the iron hand of oppression and the insolent spurn 
of contempt. Amen ! and so be it, and so it will be, — 

Dum domus .iEnes Capitoli immobile saxum 
Accolet, imperiumque pater Romanus habebit. 

20 But if the rude inroad of GaUic tumult, with its sophistical 
rights of man to falsify the account, and its sword as a 
make-weight to throw into the scale, shall be introduced 
into our city by a misguided populace, set on by proud, 
great men, themselves blinded and intoxicated by a frantic 

25 ambition, we shall all of us perish and be overwhelmed in 
a common ruin. If a great storm blow on our coast, it 
will cast the whales on the strand, as well as the peri- 
winkles. His Grace will not survive the poor grantee he 
despises — no, not for a twelvemonth. If the great look 

30 for safety in the services they render to this Gallic cause, 
it is to be foolish even above the weight of privilege 
allowed to wealth. If his Grace be one of those whom 
they endeavor to proselytize, he ought to be aware of the 



A LETTER TO A NOBLE LORD. 39 

character of the sect whose doctrines he is invited to 
embrace. With them insurrection is the most sacred of 
revolutionary duties to the state. Ingratitude to bene- 
factors is the first of revolutionary virtues. Ingratitude 
is, indeed, their four cardinal virtues compacted and 5 
amalgamated into one ; and he will find it in everything 
that has happened since the commencement of the philo- 
sophic Revolution to this hour. If he pleads the merit of 
having performed the duty of insurrection against the 
order he lives in, — God forbid he ever should ! — the 10 
merit of others will be to perform the duty of insurrection 
against him. If he pleads — again God forbid he should! 
and I do not suspect he will — his ingratitude to the 
crown for its creation of his family, others will plead their 
right and duty to pay him in kind. They will laugh, 15 
indeed they will laugh, at his parchment and his wax. 
His deeds will be drawn out with the rest of the lumber 
of his evidence-room, and burnt to the tune of Qa ira in 
the courts of Bedford (then Equality) House. 

Am I to blame, if I attempt to pay his Grace's hostile 20 
reproaches to me with a friendly admonition to himself ? 
Can I be blamed, for pointing out to him in what manner 
he is like to be affected, if the sect of the cannibal philoso- 
phers of France should proselytize any considerable part 
of this people, and, by their joint proselytizing arms, 25 
should conquer that government, to which his Grace 
does not seem to me to give all the support his own 
security demands ? Surely it is proper, that he, and that 
others like him, should know the true genius of this sect ; 
what their opinions are ; what they have done ; and to 3° 
whom ; and what (if a prognostic is to be formed from 
the dispositions and actions of men) it is certain they 
will do hereafter. He ought to know, that they have 
sworn assistance, the only engagement they ever will 



40 EDMUND BURKE. 

keep, to all in this country, who bear a resemblance to 
themselves, and who think as such, that The whole duty 
of man consists in destruction. They are a misallied 
and disparaged branch of the house of Nimrod. They 
5 are the Duke of Bedford's natural hunters, and he is 
their natural game. Because he is not very profoundly 
reflecting, he sleeps in profound security: they, on the 
contrary, are always vigilant, active, enterprizing, and 
though far removed from any knowledge, which makes 

10 men estimable or useful, in all the instruments and 
resources of evil, their leaders are not meanly instructed, 
or insufficiently furnished. In the French revolution 
everything is new; and, from want of preparation to 
meet so unlooked-for an evil, everything is dangerous. 

15 Never, before this time, was a set of literary men, con- 
verted into a gang of robbers and assassins. Never 
before, did a den of bravoes and banditti, assume the 
garb and tone of an academy of philosophers. 

Let me tell his Grace, that an union of such characters, 

20 monstrous as it seems, is not made for producing despi- 
cable enemies. But if they are formidable as foes, as 
friends they are dreadful indeed. The men of property 
in France confiding in a force, which seemed to be irre- 
sistible, because it had never been tried, neglected to 

25 prepare for a conflict with their enemies at their own 
weapons. They were found in such a situation as the 
Mexicans were, when they were attacked by the dogs, 
the cavalry, the iron, and the gunpowder of a handful of 
bearded men, whom they did not know to exist in nature. 

30 This is a comparison that some, I think, have made ; 
and it is just. In France they had their enemies within 
their houses. They were even in the bosoms of many of 
them. But they had not sagacity to discern their savage 
character. They seemed tame, and even caressing. They 



A LETTER TO A NOBLE LORD. 41 

had nothing but douce humanite in their mouth. They 
could not bear the punishment of the mildest laws on 
the greatest criminals. The slightest severity of justice 
made their flesh creep. The very idea that war existed 
in the world disturbed their repose. Military glory was no 5 
more, with them, than- a splendid infamy. Hardly would 
they hear of self-defence, which they reduced within 
such bounds, as to leave it no defence at all. All this 
while they meditated the confiscations and massacres we 
have seen. Had any one told these unfortunate noblemen 10 
and gentlemen, how, and by whom, the grand fabric of the 
French monarchy under which they flourished would be sub- 
verted, they would not have pitied him as a visionary, but 
would have turned from him as what they call a mauvais 
plaisant. Yet we have seen what has happened. The 15 
persons who have suffered from the cannibal philosophy 
of France, are so like the Duke of Bedford, that nothing 
but his Grace's probably not speaking quite so good 
French, could enable us to find out any difference. A 
great many of them had as pompous titles as he, and 20 
were of full as illustrious a race : some few of them had 
fortunes as ample ; several of them, without meaning the 
least disparagement to the Duke of Bedford, were as 
wise, and as virtuous, and as valiant, and as well edu- 
cated, and as complete in all the lineaments of men of 25 
honor as he is. And to all this they had added the 
powerful out-guard of a military profession, which, in 
its nature, renders men somewhat more cautious than 
those, who have nothing to attend to but the lazy enjoy- 
ment of undisturbed possessions. But security was their 30 
ruin. They are dashed to pieces in the storm, and our 
shores are covered with the wrecks. If they had been 
aware that such a thing might happen, such a thing never 
could have happened. 



42 EDMUXD BURKE. 

I assure his Grace, that if I state to him the designs of 
his enemies in a manner which may appear to him ludi- 
crous and impossible, I tell him nothing that has not 
exactly happened, point by point, but twenty-four miles 
5 from our own shore. I assure him that the Frenchified 
faction, more encouraged, than others are warned by what 
has happened in France, look at him and his landed 
possessions as an object at once of curiosity and rapacity. 
He is made for them in every part of their double char- 

10 acter. As robbers, to them he is a noble booty ; as specu- 
latists, he is a glorious subject for their experimental 
philosophy. He affords matter for an extensive analysis 
in all the branches of their science, geometrical, physical, 
civil, and political. These philosophers are fanatics. 

15 Independent of any interest, which, if it operated alone, 
would make them much more tractable, they are carried 
with such a headlong rage towards every desperate trial, 
that they would sacrifice the whole human race to the 
slightest of their experiments. I am better able to enter 

20 into the character of this description of men than the 
noble Duke can be. I have lived long and variously in 
the world. Without any considerable pretensions to litera- 
ture in myself, I have aspired to the love of letters. 1 
have lived for a great many years in habitudes with those 

25 who professed them. I can form a tolerable estimate of 
what is likely to happen from a character chiefly depend- 
ent for fame and fortune on knowledge and talent, as well 
in its morbid and perverted state as in that which is sound 
and natural. Naturally men so formed and finished are 

30 the first gifts of Providence to the world. But when they 
have once thrown off the fear of God, which was in all 
ages too often the case, and the fear of man, which is 
now the case, and when in that state they come to under- 
stand one another, and to act in corps, a more dreadful 



A LETTER TO A NOBLE LORD. 43 

calamity cannot arise out of hell to scourge mankind. 
Nothing can be conceived more hard than the heart of a 
thorough-bred metaphysician. It comes nearer to the 
cold malignity of a wicked spirit than to the frailty and 
passion of a man. It is like that of the Principle of Evil s 
himself, incorporeal, pure, unmixed, dephlegmated, defe- 
cated evil. It is no easy operation to eradicate humanity 
from the human breast. What Shakespeare calls the 
"compunctious visitings of nature" will sometimes knock 
at their hearts, and protest against their murderous specu- lo 
lations. But they have a means of compounding with 
their nature. Their humanity is not dissolved : they only 
give it a long prorogation. They are ready to declare 
that they do not think two thousand years too long a 
period for the good that they pursue. It is remarkable 15 
that they never see any way to their projected good but by 
the road of some evil. Their imagination is not fatigued 
with the contemplation of human suffering through the 
wild waste of centuries added to centuries of misery and 
desolation. Their humanity is at their horizon, and, like 20 
the horizon, it always flies before them. The geome- 
tricians and the chemists bring — the one from the dry 
bones of their diagrams, and the other from the soot of 
their furnaces — dispositions that make them worse than 
indifferent about those feelings and habitudes which are 25 
the supports of the moral world. Ambition is come upon 
them suddenly ; they are intoxicated with it, and it has 
rendered them fearless of the danger which may from 
thence arise to others or to themselves. These philoso- 
phers consider men in their experiments no more than 3° 
they do mice in an air-pump, or in a recipient of mephitic 
gas. Whatever his Grace may think of himself, they look 
upon him, and everything that belongs to him, with no 
more regard than they do upon the whiskers of that little, 



44 EVJIUiVV BURKE. 

long-tailed animal that has been long the game of the 
grave, demure, insidious, spring-nailed, velvet-pawed, green- 
eyed philosophers, whether going upon two legs or upon 
four. 
5 His Grace's landed possessions are irresistibly inviting 
to an agrarian experiment. They are a downright insult 
upon the rights of man. They are more extensive than 
the territory of many of the Grecian republics, and they 
are, without comparison, more fertile than most of them. 

lo There are now republics in Italy, in Germany, and in 
Switzerland which do not possess anything like so fair 
and ample a domain. There is scope for seven philoso- 
phers to proceed in their analytical experiments upon 
Harrington's seven different forms of republics in the 

15 acres of this one duke. Hitherto they have been wholly 
unproductive to speculation, fitted for nothing but to 
fatten bullocks, and to produce grain for beer, still more 
to stupefy the dull English understanding. Abbd Sieyfes 
has whole nests of pigeon-holes full of constitutions ready 

20 made, ticketed, sorted, and numbered, suited to every 
season and every fancy ; some with the top of the pattern 
at the bottom, and some with the bottom at the top ; some 
plain, some flowered ; some distinguished for their sim- 
plicity, others for their complexity ; some of blood color, 

25 some of boue de Paris ; some with directories, others with- 
out a direction ; some with councils of elders and councils 
of youngsters, some without any council at all ; some 
where the electors choose the representatives, others 
where the representatives choose the electors ; some in 

30 long coats, some in short cloaks ; some with pantaloons, 
some without breeches ; some with five-shilling qualifica- 
tions, some totally unqualified. So that no constitution- 
fancier may go unsuited from his shop, provided he loves 
a pattern of pillage, oppression, arbitrary imprisonment, 



A LETTER TO A NOBLE LORD. 45 

confiscation, exile, revolutionary judgment, and legalized, 
premeditated murder, in any shapes into which they can 
be put. What a pity it is that the progress of experi- 
mental philosophy should be checked by his Grace's 
monopoly ! Such are their sentiments, I assure him ; 5 
such is their language, when they dare to speak ; and 
such are their proceedings, when they have the means 
to act. 

Their geographers, and geometricians, have been some 
time out of practice. It is some time since they have 10 
divided their own country into squares. That figure 
has lost the charms of its novelty. They want new 
lands for new trials. It is not only the geometricians 
of the republic that find him a good subject, the 
chemists have bespoke him after the geometricians 15 
have done with him. As the first set have an eye on 
his Grace's lands, the chemists are not less taken with 
his buildings. They consider mortar as a very anti- 
revolutionary invention in its present state ; but prop- 
erly employed, an admirable material for overturning all 20 
establishments. They have found that the gunpowder 
of rums is far the fittest for making other ruins, and 
so ad infinitum. They have calculated what quantity of 
matter convertible into nitre is to be found in Bedford 
House, in Woburn Abbey, and in what his Grace and 25 
his trustees have still suffered to stand of that foolish 
royalist Inigo Jones, in Covent Garden. Churches, play- 
houses, coffee-houses, all alike are destined to be mingled, 
and equallized, and blended into one common rubbish ; 
and well sifted, and lixiviated, to crystallize into true 30 
democratic explosive insurrectionary nitre. Their acad- 
emy del Cimento (per antiphrasin) with Morveau and Has- 
senfrats at its head, have computed that the brave sans 
culottes may make war on all the aristocracy of Europe 



-If. EVMUND BURKE. 

for a twelvemonth, out of the rubbish of the Duke o± 
Bedford's buildings.^ 

While the Morveaux and Priestleys are proceeding with 
these experiments upon the Duke of Bedford's houses, the 
S Sieyfes, and the rest of the analytical legislators, and 
constitution-venders, are quite as busy in- their trade of 
decomposing organization, in forming his Grace's vassals 
into primary assemblies, national guards, first, second 
and third requisitioners, committees of research, conduc- 

10 tors of the travelling guillotine, judges of revolutionary 
tribunals, legislative hangmen, supervisors of domiciliary 
visitation, exactors of forced loans, and assessors of the 
maximum. 

The din of all this smithery may some time or other 

15 possibly wake this noble Duke, and push him to an 

1 There is nothing, on which the leaders of the republic, one and 
indivisible, value themselves, more than on the chemical operations, 
by which, through science, they convert the pride of the aristocracy 
to an instrument of its own destruction — on the operations by 
which they reduce the magnificent ancient country seats of the 
nobility, decorated with the feudal titles of Duke, Marquis, or Earl, 
into magazines of what they call revolutionary gunpowder. They 
tell us, that hitherto things " had not yet been properly and in a 
revolutionary manner explored." "The strong chateaus, those feudal 
fortresses, that were ordered to be demolished, attracted next the 
attention of your committee. Nature there had secretly regained 
her rights, and had produced saltpetre for the purpose, as it should 
seem, of facilitating the executioti of your decree by preparing the 
means of destruction. From these ruins, which still frown on the 
liberties of the republic, we have extracted the means of producing 
good; and those piles, which have hitherto glutted the pride of 
despots, and covered the plots of La Vendee will soon furnish where- 
withal to tame the traitors, and to overwhelm the disaffected." — 
" The rebellious cities also, have afforded a large quantity of salt- 
petre. Commune Affranchie, (that is, the noble city of Lyons reduced 
in many parts to an heap of ruins) and Toulon will pay a second 
tribute to our artillery." Report, ist February, 1794. 



A LETTER TO A NOBLE LORD. 47 

endeavor to save some little matter from their experi- 
mental philosophy. If he pleads his grants from the 
Crown, he is ruined at the outset. If he pleads he has 
received them from the pillage of superstitious corpora- 
tions, this indeed will stagger them a little, because 5 
they are enemies to all corporations, and to all religion. 
However, they will soon recover themselves, and will tell 
his Grace, or his learned council, that all such property 
belongs to the nation; and that it would be more wise for 
him, if he wishes to live the natural term of a citizen, (that 10 
is, according to Condorcet's calculation, six months on an 
average) not to pass for an usurper upon the national 
property. This is what the Serjeants at law of the rights 
of man, will say to the puny apprentices of the common 
law of England. 15 

Is the genius of philosophy not yet known ? You may 
as well think the garden of the Tuilleries was well 
protected with the cords of ribbon insultingly stretched 
by the national assembly to keep the sovereign canaille 
from intruding on the retirement of the poor king of the 20 
French, as that such flimsy cobwebs will stand between 
the savages of the revolution and their natural prey. 
Deep philosophers are no triflers ; brave sans culottes are 
no formalists. They will no more regard a Marquis of 
Tavistock than an Abbot of Tavistock; the Lord of 25 
Woburn will not be more respectable in their eyes than the 
Prior of Woburn ; they will make no difference between 
the superior of a Covent Garden of nuns and of a Covent 
Garden of another description. They will not care a 
rush whether his coat is long or short ; whether the color 30 
be purple or blue and buff. They will not trouble their 
heads, with what part of his head, his hair is cut from ; 
and they will look with equal respect on a tonsure and a 
crop. Their only question will be that of their Legendre, 



4S EDMUND BURKE. 

or some other of their legislative butchers, how he cuts 
up ? How he tallows in the cawl, or on the kidneys ? 

Is it not a singular phenomenon, that, whilst tlie sans 
culottes carcass-butchers and the philosophers of the 
5 shambles are pricking their dotted lines upon his hide, 
and, like the print of the poor ox that we see in the shop 
windows at Charing Cross, alive as he is, and thinking no 
harm in the world, he is divided into rumps, and sirloins, 
and briskets, and into all sorts of pieces for roasting, 
10 boiling, and stewing, that all the while they are measuring 
him, his Grace is measuring me — is invidiously comparing 
the bounty of the Crown with the deserts of the defender 
of his order, and in the same moment fawning on those who 
have the knife half out of the sheath ? Poor innocent! — 

15 " Pleased to the last, he crops the flowery food, 

And licks the hand just raised to shed his blood." 

No man lives too long who lives to do with spirit and 
suffer with resignation what Providence pleases to com- 
mand or inflict ; but, indeed, they are sharp incommodities 

20 which beset old age. It was but the other day, that, on 
putting in order some things which had been brought- 
here, on my taking leave of London forever, I looked 
over a number of fine portraits, most of them of persons 
now dead, but whose society, in my better days, made this 

35 a proud and happy place. Amongst these was the picture 
of Lord Keppel. It was painted by an artist worthy of 
the subject, the excellent friend of that excellent man 
from their earliest youth, and a common friend of us both, 
with whom we lived for many years without a moment of 

30 coldness, of peevishness, of jealousy, or of jar, to the day 
of our final separation. 

I ever looked on Lord Keppel as one of the greatest 
and best men of his age ; and I loved, and cultivated him 



A LETTER TO A NOBLE LORD. 49 

accordingly. He was much in my lieart, and I believe I 
was in his to the very last beat. It was after his trial at 
Portsmouth that he gave me this picture. With what zeal 
and anxious affection I attended him through that his 
agony of glory, what part my son took in the early flush 5 
and enthusiasm of his virtue, and the pious passion with 
which he attached himself to all my connections, with 
what prodigality we both squandered ourselves in courting 
almost every sort of enmity for his sake, I believe he felt, 
just as I should have felt such friendship on such an 10 
occasion. I partook indeed of this honor, with several of 
the first, and best, and ablest in the kingdom, but I was 
behindhand with none of them ; and I am sure, that if to 
the eternal disgrace of this nation, and to the total anni- 
hilation of every trace of honor and virtue in it, things 15 
had taken a different turn from what they did, I should 
have attended him to the quarter-deck with no less good 
will and more pride, though with far other feelings than 
I partook of the general flow of national joy that attended 
the justice that was done to his virtue. 20 

Pardon, my lord, the feeble garrulity of age, which 
loves to diffuse itself in discourse of the departed great. 
At my years, we live in retrospect alone, and, wholly 
unfitted for the society of vigorous life, we enjoy — the 
best balm to all wounds — the consolation of friendship, 25 
in those only whom we have lost forever. Feeling the 
loss of Lord Keppel at all times, at no time did I feel it 
so much as on the first day when I was attacked in the 
House of Lords. 

Had he lived, that reverend form would have risen in 30 
its place, and, with a mild, parental reprehension to his 
nephew, the Duke of Bedford, he would have told him 
that the favor of that gracious Prince who had honored 
his virtues with the government of the navy of Great 



so EDMUND BURKE. 

Britain, and with a seat in the hereditary great council of 
his kingdom, was not undeservedly shown to the friend 
of the best portion of his life, and his faithful companion 
and counsellor under his rudest trials. He would have 
5 told him, that, to whomever else these reproaches might 
be becoming, they were not decorous in his near kindred. 
He would have told him, that when men in that rank 
lose decorum, they lose everything. 

On that day I had a loss in Lord Keppel ; but the 

10 public loss of him in this awful crisis — ! I speak from 
much knowledge of the person, he never would have 
listened to any compromise with the rabble rout of this 
sans culotterie of France. His goodness of heart, his 
reason, his taste, his public duty, his principles, his preju- 

15 dices, would have repelled him forever from all connection 
with that horrid medley of madness, vice, impiety, and 
crime. 

Lord Keppel had two countries, one of descent, and 
one of birth. Their interest and their glory are the same, 

20 and his mind was capacious of both. His family was 
noble, and it was Dutch ; that is, he was of the oldest and 
purest nobility that Europe can boast, among a people 
renowned above all others for love of their native land. 
Though it was never shown in insult to any human being, 

25 Lord Keppel was something high. It was a wild stock 
of pride, on which the tenderest of all hearts had grafted 
the milder virtues. He valued ancient nobility ; and he 
was not disinclined to augment it with new honors. He 
valued the old nobility and the new, not as an excuse for 

30 inglorious sloth, but as an incitement to virtuous activity. 
He considered it' as a sort of cure for selfishness and a 
narrow mind ; conceiving that a man born in an elevated 
place, in himself was nothing, but everything in what went 
before, and what was to come after him. Without much 



A LETTER TO A NOBLE LORD. 51 

speculation, but by the sure instinct of ingenuous feelings, 
and by the dictates of plain unsophisticated natural under- 
standing, he felt, that no great Commonwealth could by 
any possibility long subsist, without a body of some kind 
or other of nobility, decorated with honor, and fortified 5 
by privilege. This nobility forms the chain that connects 
the ages of a nation, which otherwise (with Mr. Paine) 
would soon be taught that no one generation can bind 
another. He felt that no political fabric could be well 
made without some such order of things as might, through 10 
a series of time, afford a rational hope of securing unity, 
coherence, consistency, and stability to the state. He 
felt that nothing else can protect it against the levity of 
courts, and the greater levity of the multitude. That to 
talk of hereditary monarchy without anything else of 15 
hereditary reverence in the commonwealth, was a low- 
minded absurdity ; fit only for those detestable " fools 
aspiring to be knaves," who began to forge in 1789, the 
false money of the French constitution. — That it is 
one fatal objection to all new fancied and new fabricated 20 
republics, (among a people, who, once possessing such 
an advantage, have wickedly and insolently rejected it), 
that \h& prejudice of an old nobility is a thing that cannot 
be made. It may be improved, it may be corrected, 
it may be replenished : men may be taken from it, or 25 
aggregated to it, but the thing itself is matter of inveterate 
opinion, and therefore cannot be matter of mere positive 
institution. He felt, that this nobility, in fact does not 
exist in wrong of other orders of the state, but by them, 
and for them. 3° 

I knew the man I speak of ; and, if we can divine the 
future, out of what we collect from the past, no person 
living would look with more scorn and horror on the 
impious parricide committed on all their ancestry, and 



52 EDMUND BURKE. 

on the desperate attainder passed on all their posterity, 
by the Orleans, and tlie Rochefoucaults, and the Fay- 
ettes, and the Viscomtes de Noailles, and the false Peri- 
gords, and the long et catera of the perfidious sans 

5 culottes of the court, who like demoniacs, possessed with a 
spirit of fallen pride, and inverted ambition, abdicated 
their dignities, disowned their families, betrayed the most 
sacred of all trusts, and by breaking to pieces a great 
link of society, and all the cramps and holdings of the 

10 state, brought eternal confusion and desolation on their 
country. For the fate of the miscreant parricides them- 
selves he would have had no pity. Compassion for the 
myriads of men, of whom the world was not worthy, who 
by their means have perished in prisons, or on scaffolds, 

15 or are pining in beggary and exile, would leave no room 
in his, or in any well-formed mind, for any such sensa- 
tion. We are not made at once to pity the oppressor and 
the oppressed. 

Looking to his Batavian descent, how could he bear to 

20 behold his kindred, the descendants of the brave nobility 
of Holland, whose blood, prodigally poured out, had, 
more than all the canals, meers, and inundations of their 
country, protected their independence, to behold them 
bowed in the basest servitude to the basest and vilest of 

25 the human race — in servitude to those who in no respect 
were superior in dignity, or could aspire to a better place 
than that of hangman to the tyrants to whose sceptred pride 
they had opposed an elevation of soul that surmounted 
and overpowered the loftiness of Castile, the haughtiness 

30 of Austria, and the overbearing arrogance of France ! 

Could he with patience bear, that the children of that 
nobility, who would have deluged their country and given 
it to the sea, rather than submit to Louis XIV. who was 
then in his meridian glory, when his arms were conducted 



A LETTER TO A NOBLE LORD. 53 

by the Turennes, by the Luxembourgs, by the Boufflers ; 
when his councils were directed by the Colberts, and the 
Louvois ; when his tribunals were filled by the Lamoig- 
nons and the Daguesseaus — that these should be given 
up to the cruel sport of the Pichegrus, the Jourdans, 5 
the Santerres, under the Rollands, and Brissots, and 
Gorsas, and Robespierres, the Reubels, the Carnots, and 
Talliens, and Dantons, and the whole tribe of regicides, 
robbers, and revolutionary judges, that, from the rotten 
carcass of their own murdered country, have poured 10 
out innumerable swarms of the lowest, and at once the 
most destructive of the classes of animated nature, which 
like columns of locusts, have laid waste the fairest part 
of the world. 

Would Keppel have borne to see the ruin of the virtu- 15 
ous patricians, that happy union of the noble and the 
burgher, who, with signal prudence and integrity, had 
long governed the cities of the confederate republic, the 
cherishing fathers of their country, who, denying com- 
merce to themselves, made it flourish in a manner unex- 20 
ampled under their protection ? Could Keppel have borne 
that a vile faction should totally destroy this harmonious 
construction in favor of a robbing democracy founded on 
the spurious rights of man ? 

He was no great clerk, but he was perfectly well versed 25 
in the interests of Europe ; and he could not have heard 
with patience that the country of Grotius, the cradle of 
the law of nations, and one of the richest repositories of 
all law, should be taught a new code by the ignorant 
flippancy of Thomas Paine, the presumptuous foppery of 30 
La Fayette, with his stolen rights of man in his hand, the 
wild, profligate intrigue and turbulency of Marat, and the 
impious sophistry of Condorcet in his insolent addresses 
to the Batavian Republic. 



54 EDMUND BURKE. 

Could Keppel, who idolized the House of Nassau, who 
was himself given to England along with the blessings of 
the British and Dutch Revolutions, with revolutions of 
stability, with revolutions which consolidated and married 
5 the liberties and the interests of the two nations forever — 
could he see the fountain of British liberty itself in servi- 
tude to France ? Could he see with patience a Prince of 
Orange expelled as a sort of diminutive despot, with 
every kind of contumely, from the country which that 

10 family of deliverers had so often rescued from slavery, and 
obliged to live in exile in another country, which owes its 
liberty to his house ? 

Would Keppel have heard with patience, that the con- 
duct to be held on such occasions was to become short 

1 5 by the knees to the faction of the homicides, to entreat 
them quietly to retire ? or if the fortune of war should 
drive them from their first wicked and unprovoked inva- 
sion, that no security should be taken, no arrangement 
made, no barrier formed, no alliance entered into for the 

20 security of that, which under a foreign name is the most 
precious part of England ? What would he have said, if 
it was even proposed that the Austrian Netherlands (which 
ought to be a barrier to Holland, and the tie of an alli- 
ance, to protect her against any species of rule that might 

25 be erected, or even be restored in France) should be formed 
into a republic under her influence, and dependent upon 
her power ? 

But, above all, what would he have said if he had heard 
it made a matter of accusation against me by his nephew, 

30 the Duke of Bedford, that I was the author of the war ? 
Had I a mind to keep that high distinction to myself (as 
from pride I might, but from justice I dare not), he would 
have snatched his share of it from my hand, and held it 
with the grasp of a dying convulsion to his end. 



A LETTER TO A NOBLE LORD. 55 

It would be a most arrogant presumption in me to 
assume to myself the glory of what belongs to his Majesty, 
and to his ministers, and to his Parliament, and to the far 
greater majority of his faithful people ; but, had I stood 
alone to counsel, and that all were determined to be s 
guided by my advice, and to follow it implicitly, then I 
should have been the sole author of a war. But it should 
have been a war on my ideas and my principles. How- 
ever, let his Grace think as he may of my demerits with 
regard to the war with Regicide, he will find my guilt lo 
confined to that alone. He never shall, with the smallest 
color of reason, accuse me of being the author of a peace 
with Regicide. But that is high matter, and ought not to 
be mixed with anything of so little moment as what may 
belong to me, or even to the Duke of Bedford. 15 

I have the honor to be, &c., 

Edmund Burke. 



NOTES. 



3 1. To a Noble Lord. Earl Fitzwilliam (1748-1833) was the 
nobleman to whom this letter was addressed. He was nephew and 
heir to the Marquis of Rockingham (from whom he inherited ^^40,000 
a year), and was one of the largest landholders in Ireland. He was a 
Whig grandee, a traditional leader of that party of which Charlemont 
and Gratton were the representatives in Ireland. He conveyed most 
delicately to Eurke, in a letter written immediately after his uncle's 
death, July 3, 1782, Lord Rockingham's desire that all Burke's indebt- 
edness to him should be cancelled : " I must recollect myself. It was 
my duty to have informed you that certain bonds are cancelled by a 
codicil of his will. He felt merit as he ought to have done, and he 
never did an action in his life more acceptable to your sincere friend, 

Fitzwilliam." 

3 3. Duke of Bedford. For the history of the Duke of Bedford 
and the House Of Russell, see the Introduction. 

3 4. Earl of Lauderdale. James Maitland, eighth Earl of Lauder- 
dale, was born at Hatton House in the parish of Ratho, Midlothian, 
Jan. 26, 1759. H^ ^^^ educated at the high school and the University 
of Edinburgh, spent one term at Trinity College, Oxford, and another 
at Glasgow, and entered at Lincoln's Inn, Feb. 26, 1777. He was 
elected to Parliament for Newport, Cornwall. His maiden speech (Feb. 
26, 17S1) was in support of the second reading of Burke's bill for the 
regulation of the civil list establishments. In August, 1792, he visited 
France, accompanied by Dr. John Moore, the author of " Zeluco." He 
witnessed the attack on the Tuilleries, and made the acquaintance of 
Jean Pierre Brissot. He is said to have assumed " the rough costume 
of Jacobinism." He was violent, eccentric, and spoke with a Scotch 
accent. He was imposed upon by the Ireland forgeries of Shakespeare 
and signed the attestation in their favor. He married, Aug. 15, 17S2, 
Eleanor, only child of Anthony Todd, and had four sons, who died un- 



58 A-Q I'ES. 

married. The second son, Anthony Maitland, tenth Earl of Lauder, 
dale, died in 1863, and with him the English barony of Lauderdale 
became extinct, but the Scotch earldom devolved on a cousin, Thomas 
Maitland. 

A daughter of James Maitland was married to James Balfour, and 
the distinguished statesman Arthur James Balfour is her grandson. 
See James Robertson, " Lady Blanche Balfour, a Reminiscence," Edin- 
burgh and London, 1897. 

3 9. The New Sect : the body of persons holding the doctrines of 
the French revolutionists, whether speaking English or French. 

3 13. Duke of Orleans (1747-93). Louis Philippe Joseph, Duke of 
Orleans, married the only daughter and heiress of the Duke of Pen- 
thievre, grand admiral of France. With her enormous wealth, which 
made him the richest man in France, he lived a life of cynical de- 
bauchery. He visited London and introduced m Paris a fondness for 
English sports, particularly horse racing (see Cowper's " Task," bk. ii, 
11. 250-285). In various ways he displayed his liberalism. He 
headed the minority of forty-seven noblemen who seceded from their 
own estate and joined the Tiers fitat. The "gold of Orleans " was 
said to be the cause of the taking of the Bastille. He accepted the 
title of Citoyen figalite, conferred on him by the Commune of Paris, 
and was elected deputy for Paris to the Convention. He voted for the 
death of the king. Suspicion fell upon him, and he was guillotined 
during the Reign of Terror (Nov. 6, 1793). 

3 14. Jean Pierre Brissot (1754-93) was the author of certain 
works on the philosophy of law. He was a disciple of Rousseau, and 
was continually occupied with humanitarian schemes which he pro- 
moted in pamphlets and journals. As an agent of the " Society of the 
Friends of the Blacks," he visited America, but returned to France at 
the outbreak of the Revolution. In the National Assembly he was a 
Girondist or Brissotin. He was guillotined Oct. 31, 1793. 

3 25. Joseph Priestley (1733-1804), the Unitarian philosopher and 
scientist, was a native of the West Riding of Yorkshire. He dwelt 
upon speculative theology, compiled a " History of the Corruptions of 
Christianity," and engaged in polemic controversy at the same time 
that he was making chemical experiments and enjoying, in Birming- 
ham, the friendship of the Lunar Society or Soho Circle — of Watt 
and Boulton and Darwin. He discovered oxygen and investigated the 
nature of gases. His open and hearty sympathy with the French revo- 
lutionists made him unpopular, and in 1791, upon the anniversary of 
the fall of the Bastille, a mob destroyed his chapel and house. His 



NOTES. 59 

last years were spent in Pennsylvania at Northumberland upon the 
Susquehanna. 

3 25. Thomas Paine (1736-1809), the author of "Rights of Man" 
and " Age of Reason," was the son of a Quaker staymaker in Nor- 
folk, and came to America with letters of introduction from Franklin. 
His paper "The Crisis" restored courage to the fainting troops at 
Valley Forge. His pamphlet entitled " Common Sense " " passed 
through the continent like an electric spark. It everywhere flashed 
conviction, and aroused a determined spirit, which resulted in the 
Declaration of Independence upon the 4th of July ensuing. The name 
of Paine was dear to every Whig heart, and had resounded throughout 
Europe " (Elkanah Watson). " Rights of Man," dedicated to Wash- 
ington, was an answer to Burke's " Reflections on the French Revolu- 
tion." It had an enormous circulation, though the government tried 
to suppress it. Paine was indicted for treason, but, being elected by 
Calais to the French Convention, he was allowed to leave England 
under sentence of outlawry. 

4 6. William Wyndham Grenville (1759-1834), son of George 
Grenville, first Lord of the Treasury (1763-65), was a cousin of Pitt and 
a brother of the Marquis of Buckingham. He was successively 
Speaker of the House of Commons (1789), Secretary of State (1789), 
and Secretary of Foreign Affairs (1791)- He was a scholar and chan- 
cellor of the University of Oxford. He edited the "Letters of the 
Earl of Chatham to Thomas Pitt " {1804), and privately printed an 
annotated edition of Homer and " Nugae Metricae " (1824). Lord 
Grenville replied to the Duke of Bedford's attack, in the House of 
Lords, and William Windham defended Burke in the Commons. 

4 25. John Zisca, the military hero of the Hussites, or Moravians, 
was bom near Budweis in Bohemia about 1360. He strongly fortified 
Mount Tabor and won many victories over the Imperial troops. He 
was blind of an eye, but was a resourceful, zealous leader. It is not the 
only occasion upon which Burke alludes to him; in a speech in 1782 
he compared Fox to Zisca. 

4 34. Lord Verulam. For Francis Bacon's theory which Burke 
refers to here, see "Novum Orgahum," bk. i, Aphorisms 79, 80; bk. ii, 
17, 29; "Advancement of Learning,'' bk. ii ; and "De. Aug. Sci.," 
bk. iii, ch. i. 

5 7. Though hardly to be classed with the living. " His health, 
though not intellectual powers, had been for some time in a declining 
state, which terminated in such debility and loss of muscular energy as 
to render motion and his usual exercise impracticable. To this state 



60 AOTES. 

of unexpected if not premature decay, his habits of application, literary 
pursuits, and former laborious Parliamentary exertions no doubt tended. 
The stomach very imperfectly and painfully performed its office, and 
emaciation ensued. . . . And when the loss of his son destroyed that 
buoyancy of hope so long and fondly entertained of witnessing his suc- 
cess in life, no active principle of vitality remained to counteract the 
inroads of infirmity" (Prior, "Life of Burke," p. 448). 

S 19. Unplumb the dead for bullets. That is, literally, " stripping 
the dead of their leaden coffins after making them (not the dead, but 
the coffins) into bullets — a circumstance perfectly notorious at the 
time this ' Letter ' was written." The real significance of the passage 
seems to have been misunderstood, and certain errors of interpretation 
furnished material for satire to the writers of the Anti-Jacobin. Thus 
Robert Adair in an answer to Burke writes : " If Mr. Burke had been 
content with unplumbing a dead Russell and hewing Him (observe — 
not the coffin, but Him — the old dead Russell himself) into grape and 
canister to sweep down the whole generation of his descendants," etc. 
The comment of the editor of the Anti-Jacobin upon this extraordi- 
nary criticism is that the writer " transmutes the illustrious Head of the 
house of Russell into a metal to which it is not for us to say how near 
or how remote his affinity may possibly have been" (•' Poetry of Anti- 
Jacobin," p. 53, 2d ed., London, 1800). 

5 24. Call up the prophetic dead : see I Sam. xxviii, 11-20. 

63. A total retreat. Burke had announced his intention of leaving 
the House of Commons as soon as he had brought to an end the prose- 
cution of Hastings. He had hardly applied for the Chiltern Hundreds 
when his son, Richard Burke, died (August, 1794). 

6 18. Assuage the sorrows. Gillray published a caricature (Feb. 
26, 1796) called, " Pity the sorrows of a poor old man," presenting a 
view of the entrance to Bedford House, Bloomsbury. 

6 27. The London Corresponding Society was an organization 
founded by Thomas Hardy, the shoemaker, in 1792, to unite the scat- 
tered forces of liberalism. 

7 29. Old Palace Yard was southwest of the Houses of Parliament. 
There the pillory stood, and there Sir Walter Raleigh was beheaded. 
In the southeast corner stood the house through which the Gunpowder 
Plot conspirators carried their powder barrels into the vault, and on 
this spot Guy Fawkes and three of his fellow conspirators were exe- 
cuted (1606). New Palace Yard is the space enclosed within the gilded 
railings in front of Westminster Hall. Here Perkin Warbeck was set 
in the stocks, William Prynne and Leighton and Gates were pilloried. 



NOTES. 61 

7 30. The Dukes and Earls of Brentford. The two kings of Brent- 
ford appear in Buckingham's satiric farce, " The Rehearsal." They 
enter hand in hand, smelling at the same nosegay, dance, sing, and 
walk together, 'like Juno's swans coupled and inseparable.' "The 
Rehearsal " is a composite work, largely written by George Villiers, 
second Duke of Buckingham, who 

In the course of one revolving moon 

Was chymist, fiddler, statesman and buffoon. 

Deyden. 

8 8. Few and idle years. At this time the Duke of Bedford was 
thirty years old. 

8 10. Quantum meruit : " as much as he deserved." It is a legal 
phrase, an action founded on an engagement that the defendant would 
pay to the plaintiff " as much as his services should deserve." 

8 11. Poor rich man. William Cobbett in his preface to the Ameri- 
can edition of the " Letter to a Noble Lord," Philadelphia, 1796, writes : 
" This Letter, besides its other merits, contains a most excellent lesson for 
the ' poor rich men ' in this country. When I read of the Duke of Bedford 
presiding at a revolutionary club, I am naturally led to compare him to 
the poor rich merchants and others we sometimes see hoisted on town- 
meeting stage, stirring up king mob to gut their stores and burn their 
houses. These wealthy sans-culottes are here exactly what the Duke 
of Bedford is in England. Like him, their all depends on the stability 
of the government, and yet, like him, they are endeavoring to shake it 
to the ground. Mr. Burke tells this poor innocent Duke, that the cut- 
throat Philosophers would laugh at his parchment and his wax ; and 
would they not do the same here ? . Take care then, you rich, 
fat-brained, round-headed demagogues, you American Dukes of Bed- 
ford ; take care, for you vrill be the first that will fall a sacrifice to the 
principles you propagate." 

8 25. Quantities incommensurable. Burke was at Beaconsfield 
when he wrote this " Letter. " His friend Dr. French Laurence, one 
of the most learned civilians of the day, superintended the publication 
in London. " Some of the learned civilian's clients would not have 
been pleased, on seeing him, in his old wig and gown, bending over his 
papers in court, and, as they imagined, carefully watching over their 
interests, if they had known that when he looked the gravest and 
seemed most absorbed just before rising to speak, he was really correct- 
ing a proof of the ' Letter to a Noble Lord,' or hurriedly writing a note 
to Burke on the subject in order to be in time to save the post " (Mac- 
Knight, " Life and Times of Edmund Burke," vol. iii, p. 653). 



62 NOTES. 

Laurence's correspondence wilh Burke concerning changes and 
corrections in the text has been published under the title " Epistolary 
Correspondence of Edmund Burke and Dr. Laurence," London, 1827. 
Laurence objected to the phrase " quantities incommensurable," which 
he considered to be " a little mathematical inaccuracy " (" Correspond- 
ence," p. 39). Burke accepted his friend's alteration, but added in explana- 
tion, " Geometrically the term is proper enough — that is called simply 
and without relation, an incommensurable quantity or line which has no 
common measure or common aliquot part to measure it with some 
other. Everything to be measured with another must certainly refer to 
that to which it is to be measured, and this finds whether it be or be 
not commensurable — but I am sure it is common to use the term alone 
and absolute, because the usual reference is known, as the side of a 
square is incommensurable with the diagonal. It was a relation of 
course to the lines before spoken of. But it is perhaps less reconcilable 
to moral than to geometrical propriety. However, arrogant as it may 
seem, it is no way uncommon to say, that such or such a thing as I 
do, for such or such a person, or on such or such a motive, is what no 
money could make me undertake — or such as no money could com- 
pensate to me " (" Correspondence," p. 42). 

It will be seen that Burke had grasped the fundamental conceptions 
of the mathematics, and had illustrated his thought by a theory of ser- 
vices so continuous and so great as not to be measured by anything 
divisible into aliquot parts. In the thirteenth edition the reading is : 
" Between money and service of this kind (I said it long since when I 
was not myself concerned) there is no common measurer." 

8 29. More than sufficient. In writing to Dr. Laurence, Burke said 
that his " Letter " was in " discharge of the debt I think due to ray own 
and to my son's memory, and to those who ought not to be considered 
prodigal in giving me what is beyond my merits, but not beyond my 
debts, as you know. The public — I won't dispute longer about it — 
has overpaid me. I wish I could overpay my creditors. They eat deep 
on what was designed to maintain me" ( "Correspondence, "p. 43). 

9 4. One style to a gracious benefactor. Burke wrote " one lan- 
guage for a gracious benefactor, another for a proud and insulting foe." 
William Windham, Secretary-at-War, who, like Dr. Laurence, read 
the proof-sheets, feared that the expression would be misunderstood. 
He thought the Jacobins might say, " He is a man of a double tongue 
with two opposite languages for the same thing.'' At Windham's request, 
transmitted to Burke by Dr. Laurence, that the idea should be a little 
more opened, Burke wrote, " Can anything in the world be more com- 



NOTES. 63 

mon than to use disqualifying phrases with regard to your friends when 
they are treating you with kindness, and to use the very contrary to 
enemies that crush you ? — 'I don't deserve, my dear Laurence, that 
you should take all this trouble for me in the midst of your pressing 
business' — would this be a proper answer for those who should say 
I was unworthy of having this done ? " ( " Correspondence," p. 42). 
Burke, however (or Laurence for him), changed language to style. 
Does the change relieve the passage of the fault that Windham 
indicated ? 

9 8. My conduct with regard to economy. Burke's participation 
in Economical Reform in 1782 is thus described by the Earl of Stan- 
hope : " A Message was brought down to both Houses from the 
King recommending an effectual plan of retrenchment and economy, 
to be carried through all branches of the Public Expenditure and to 
include His Majesty's own Civil List. Lord Shelbume who moved the 
Address of Thanks in the Peers, would undertake, he said, to pledge 
himself, that the present was not as usual a mere Ministerial Addreste ; 
' it was the genuine language of the Sovereign himself, proceeding from 
the heart.' In the House of Commons Burke was lavish of his 
praises. ' This,' he cried, ' is the best of Messages to the best of 
people from the best of Kings! ' But though Burke might be blamed 
for the exuberance of his panegyric, he incurred far heavier censure 
shortly afterwards by the curtailment of his Bill. When his measure 
was brought in, it was found to spare several of those institutions 
against which he had inveighed with the greatest energy two years 
before. Thus, besides a host of smaller affairs, once denounced and 
now reclaimed, both the Duchies of Cornwall and of Lancaster were 
left wholly unreformed. Some of these modifications in his original 
design might no doubt be prompted by Burke's own maturer thoughts ; 
in others, it is probable that he was merely called on to fulfil the de- 
cisions of the cabinet in which he had no share. Here was one of the 
many evils of excluding that great genius from the Councils of the 
State. 

" Among the offices to be abolished by this bill was that of the third 
Secretary of State, or of Secretary of State for the Colonies, which it 
was thought useless to keep when the colonies themselves were gone. 
The Lords of Trade and Plantations, the Lords of Police in Scotland, 
the principal officers of the Great Wardrobe and of the Jewel Office, 
the Treasurer of the Chambers, and the Cofferer of the Household, 
and the six clerks of the Board of Green Cloth were, with other rub- 
bish, swept away. It was promised that no pension exceeding three 



64 NOTES. 

hundred pounds a year should be granted to any one person, — that 
the whole amount of the pensions granted in any one year should not 
exceed six hundred pounds, ■ — until the whole Pension I jst should be 
reduced to ;£'90,ooo. There were also most praiseworthy regulations 
to secure the Secret Service Money from abuses by limiting its amount 
and imposing a strict oath on the Secretaries of State who dispensed it. 
(It is to the difficulties with which Burke struggled in this bill that he 
refers when he says, " I was loaded with hatred for everything that was 
withheld, and with obloquy for everything that was given." — Ed.) To 
Burke's high honor, we must add that he was far from sparing his 
own office. On the contrary, he brought in a separate bill to regulate 
the Paymaster's department and prevent enormous balances from 
accumulating in his hands, as had often happened heretofore, to the 
great profit of the holder of that place. . . . This measure, dignifying 
and dignified by the great name of Burke, as it seems to a later age, 
passed the House of Commons at the time certainly with little or no 
resistance from his enemies, but with quite as little celebration from 
his friends. In July it reached the Peers, where Lord Thurlow found 
great fault with it, and again did his utmost to defeat his colleagues, ■ — 
happily, however, in vain" (Lord Mahon's "History of England from 
the Peace of Utrecht to the Peace of Versailles," 3d ed., vol. vii, 
pp. 163-165). 

9 27. The retrenchments which the act effected, though curtailed, 
amounted to upwards of ;^7 2,000 a year. The arrears upon the Civil 
List at this time were about ;^300,ooo. 

10 14. Astronomers have supposed. The comet referred to was 
unquestionably that subsequently known as Halley's comet, the first 
of all the clan of comets to have its periodic return predicted and 
verified. Dr. Edmund Harvey, moved to a study of cometary orbits 
by Newton's brilliant discovery of the law of gravitation, had found one 
of the historic comets returning to visibility at least on five different 
occasions after an interval of about seventy-five years. More remark- 
able still, the inequality of this period — it being now less, and now 
greater than that j ust stated — led Halley to consider the perturbative 
action of the larger planets, and finally to venture a prediction of the 
return of the same comet in the latter part of the year 1858. It was 
of this comet, then known as the great comet of 1680, and whose 
motions, disturbed by the attraction of Jupiter, had excited absorbing 
interest, that Halley made the astonishing statement that its perihelion 
distance had been only 590,000 miles, and that at the time of its crossing 
the earth's orbit at descending node the comet was only distant a semi- 



NOTES. 65 

diameter of the sun, or 440,000 miles, from the earth's path, and that if 
the comet had been delayed thirty-one days (or had met the earth in 
Cancer), it would h^ve been a philosophical question as to what might 
have happened. 

The careful and thoroughly scientific statements of Halley regarding 
the comet of 1680 were, however, taken up by William Whiston, the 
astronomical successor of Newton, and made the basis of several 
theories now remarkable only for their absurdity and as emanating from 
the Cambridge professor of astronomy. 

Whiston attributed the deluge to a cometary collision, and invented 
the conception that the erratic worlds known as comets were the 
residence of the damned. According to this Whiston theory, a comet 
was the awful prison-house in which the wretched tenants were alter- 
nately wheeled into the remotest regions of cold and darkness and 
into the very vicinity of the sun with its overpowering light and de- 
vouring fire. It is this theory of Whiston that Burke hints at in the 
closing phrase, and it is more than probable that it was from Whiston 
that Burke absorbed the statement so curiously quoted. 

10 19. From his horrid hair 

Shakes pestilence and war. 

" Paradise Lost," II, 710. 
10 20. With fear of change 

Perplexes monarchs. 

" Paradise Lost," I, 59S. 

10 26. Jacoblnized. The Jacobin Club was a society of French 
revolutionists — gentlemen and men of letters — who met in 1789 in the 
Jacobin Convent in Paris. The club was soon controlled by the more 
violent and hysterical of the revolutionary leaders, with Robespierre 
foremost. Similar societies were organized in the principal towns of 
France. The club was suppressed in November, 1794. 

10 28. Cf. Introduction, p. xix. 

10 30. " Wild and savage insurrection." During the first week 
of June, 1780, occurred the Lord George Gordon " No Popery" riots. 
Lord George gave notice in the House of Commons May 26, 1780, that 
on the second of June he would present a petition against toleration of 
Roman Catholics, signed by a hundred thousand men who would 
accompany him to the House. On Friday zd of June he harangued 
a mob of forty thousand in St. George's Fields, after which, under the 
name of the Protestant Association, they marched six abreast over Lon- 
don Bridge and through the city to Old Palace Yard. Two Catholic 
chapels were set on fire before the crowd dispersed at night. For 



W-) NOTES. 

neaily six days the mob, crying " No popery," plundered and burnt. 
Sir George Savile's and Lord Mansfield's houses were destroyed, and 
Lord Sandwich was with difficulty rescued from the hands of the popu- 
lace. Newgate Prison was burnt to the ground and the prisoners 
released. Two attacks were made upon the Bank of England, but the 
soldiers repulsed the mob. The loss of property was estimated at 
;^i8o,ooo. Two hundred and ten of the rioters were killed, and two 
hundred and forty-eight wounded. Lord George Gordon was com- 
mitted to the Tower and tried for high treason, but acquitted, as there 
was sufficient evidence that he was, as Burke pronounces him here, a 
madman. His pertinacious opposition to both parties in the House 
gave rise to the saying that there were three parties in Parliament, — 
the Ministry, the Opposition, and Lord George Gordon. 

11 10. Death dance. During the Reign of Terror (1793-94) a Pied- 
montese song and dance called the Carmagnole became popular. It 
was "the death dance of democratic revolution." The bombastic style 
cultivated by the pamphleteers of the Revolution was also called Car- 
magnole. And the soldiers in the Revolutionary Army came to be 
dubbed in the same manner. 

11 18. National Convention. See H. Morse Stephens, " History of 
the French Revolution," vol. ii, pp. 151 and 517. 

11 26. Frederick North, second Earl of Guildford, better knovvn as 
Lord North, was born April 13, 1732, educated at Eton and at Christ 
Church, Oxford, and elected to Parliament for Banbury when twenty-two 
years of age. On the fall of the first Rockingham ministry he was 
made paymaster-general by the Duke of Grafton. His " wit and pleas- 
antry " and his " delightful temper " made him popular with the House 
and with the people. He succeeded the Duke of Grafton in the pre- 
miership in March, 1770, and continued in office for twelve years. 
" The English nation," says Leslie Stephen, " which had a Burke and 
a Chatham amongst its statesmen, had to be governed by a North, in 
humble submission to the gross stupidity of a. George III." The 
king, who had acquired control over the great Whig families, needed a 
minister who would unquestionably do his will. And such an one he 
found in Lord North. After the surrender at Yorktown Lord North 
resigned, but in April, 1783, formed a coalition with Fox and the Duke 
of Portland. Fox's India Bill, which was really drawn by Burke, was 
the cause of the overthrow of the coalition, and Lord North withdrew 
from public life. He died August 5, 1792. 

See " The Correspondence of George III with Lord North." Ed. 
by W. Bodham Donne, 2 vols., 1867. 



NOTES. 67 

12 4. Ipse diem. "jEneid,"iii, 201,202 : "Palinurus himself declared 
that he could not distinguish night from day in the heavens, and that 
he did not remember the course in the midst of the sea." 

13 21. To forward those abilities: a reference to Charles James 
Fox. 

13 22. Undertaker : a projector or promoter. The word, like " cas- 
ket," has unhappily taken on a peculiar and sombre meaning. Sir Wil- 
liam Siemens (1823-83), a native of Hanover and ignorant of English, 
visited an " undertaker " under the idea that he was the proper person 
to take up and dispose of his invention. 

13 25. In that period of difficulty. After a long digression upon 
his habit and principle of deriving all aid from others Burke resumed 
his immediate subject with — " In that period of difficulty and danger 
then" etc. The word " then " seemed to Dr. Laurence too feeble 
a reference and conviction. " I have put it," he writes, " more 
pointedly, and to make it more so have introduced a word ' ever ' into 
the preceding sentence." Notice the effect of this slight change in 
recovering the thread of discourse. 

16 10-19. This Ciceronian period is a good example of the style 
that Burke admired and strove to attain. Sir Philip Francis, writing to 
Lord Holland, says that Cicero was " the model on which he [Burke} 
labored to form his own character, in eloquence, in policy, in ethics 
and philosophy." See Dilke, " Papers of a Critic," p. 311. Compare 
this sentence of Burke's with the following from Cicero's oration upon 
Archias : " Nam ceterae neque temporum sunt neque aetatum omnium 
neque locorum : haec studia adulescentiam alunt, senectutem oblectant, 
secundas res ornant, adversis perfugium ac solatium praebent, delectant 
domi, non impediunt foris, pernoctant nobiscum, peregrinantur, rusti- 
cantur." 

16 22. All monstrous, all prodigious things. " Paradise Lost," bk. 
ii, 625. 

Cuckoo-like. The cuckoo lays its eggs in other birds' nests. 

For you know nuncle 

The hedge-sparrow fed the cuckoo so long 

That its had it head bit off by it young. 

" King Lear," I, iv, 235. 

16 24. These obscene harpies. " jEneid," vi, 289. 
16 note. Tristius haud illis. "^Eneid," iii, 214-218. 

So foul a plague for human crime 
Ne'er issued from the Stygian slime, — 



68 NOTES. 

A maid above, a bird below, 

Noisome and foul the belly's flow, 

The hands are taloned. Famine bleak 

Sits ever ghastly on the cheek. 

Conington's tfanslation. 

17 4. " Hamlet," III, iv, 48-51. 

Heaven's face doth glow. 
Yea, this solidity and compound mass, 
\A'ith tristful visage, as against the doom, 
Is thought-sick at the act. 

18 7. I heaved the lead. Notice the figure. Much of Burke's 
nautical knowledge came from his acquaintance with Admiral Keppel. 

19 16. Four and a half per cents. The Leeward Islands, from 
■whence the four and one-half per cent fund proceeded, had been first 
granted to an Earl of Marlborough and they had afterwards become 
the property of <t Lord Carlisle. Finally, a Lord Willoughby had 
obtained leave to go out with settlers on payment to Lord Carlisle of 
one-half of every profit that might be made. They came at last back 
to the crown in consequence of a resignation from Lord Kinnoul, <t 
successor of Lord Carlisle. So early as 1663 certain duties of four and 
a half per cent were granted by the assemblies of inhabitants for the 
first time for the defense and fortification of the islands. In 1701 an 
inquiry took place in the House of Commons on the subject of the 
misapplication of the product of that fund, grounded on a petition pre- 
sented by the merchants and planters of Barbadoes and connected with 
the other islands in question, and in consequence of an instruction from 
a committee of the House, an address was moved to request her 
Majesty to give orders to have the produce of the fund appropriated 
to the original purposes ; an answer was received from Mr. Secretary 
Vernon approving of the design, and an act was at length passed plac- 
ing the fund upon its proper footing and limiting it to its proper 
objects ("Parliamentary History," 32, 855). No pension had been set- 
tled upon this fund until that of Lord Chatham. It was at one time 
proposed to provide for Lord Auckland out of it, but the great seal 
was never affixed to it. 

19 33. My publications. In the " Advertisement to the Reader " 
prefixed to vol. iv of the collected works of Edmund Burke (London, 
1802) — being vol. i of the posthumous works — the editors write : 
" The late Mr. Burke from a principle of unaffected humility, which they 
who were the most intimately acquainted with his character, best know 
10 have been in his estimation one of the most important moral duties, 



NOTES. 69 

never himself made any collection of the various publications with 
which during a period of forty years he adorned and enriched the litera- 
ture of this country. When, however, the rapid and unexampled 
demand for his ' Reflexions on the Revolution of France ' had un- 
equivocally testified his celebrity as a writer, some of his friends so far 
prevailed upon him, that he permitted them to put forth a regular 
edition of his works. Accordingly three volumes in quarto appeared 
under that title in 1792, printed for the late Mr. Dodsley." 

■ At his death Burke committed his papers to the care of Dr. F. 
Laurence and Dr. W. King (Bishop of Rochester). The posthumous 
works were completed in eight volumes in 1827. 

20 15. St. Stephen's is sometimes used as a synonym for Parlia- 
ment. It was a chapel built by King Stephen about 1133. After its 
surrender to Edward VI about 1 548 it was applied to the uses of Par- 
liament. Lord Lytton has a fine poem " St. Stephen's" (March, i860) 
dedicated to Lord Lyndhurst. 

21 7. Political economy did not originate in England, as Burke sup- 
poses, but in Italy ; the first chair for the teaching of economy was 
established at Naples. In the seventeenth century in England political 
economy was little more than practical politics. Locke and his con- 
temporaries in their discussion of questions of money developed what 
might be called a mercantile school of political economy. The epoch- 
making " Wealth of Nations " was published by Adam Smith in 1776. 
Burke is referring to an earlier time when his own studies anticipated 
those of Smith. " Burke," said Adam Smith, " is the only man I ever 
knew who thinks on economic subjects exactly as I do without any 
previous communication having passed between us " (Bisset, " Life of 
Burke," vol. ii, 429). " In political knowledge Burke was a million- 
naire" (Goldwin Smith, Cornhill Magazine, vol. Ixxiv, 21). 

21 22. Nitor in adversum : I make my way against opposition. 

Niter in adversum, nee me, qui caetera vincit 
Impetus, et rapido contrarius evehor orbi. 

Ovid, " Met.," ii, 72. 

22 33. Barr^ and Dunning. In July, 1782, Lord Shelburne was put 
at the head of the ministry. The Rockingham party resigned, and 
Burke was succeeded by Colonel Barre, Fox by Thomas Townshend, 
and Lord John Cavendish by William Pitt. A caricature by Sayer 
entitled " Paradise Lost " represents Fox and Burke cast out of the 
ministerial paradise, the gate of which is surmounted by the faces of 
Shelburne, Barre, and Dunning. Under Lord Shelburne's adminis- 



70 NOTES. 

tratioii, John Dunning (1731-83) accepted a pension of ;^400o a year; 
Barre's pension of ;^30oo a year was the cause of much complaint by 
the Tories, who compared it with the poor reward given to Rodney for 
his victory (April 12, 1782) over DeGrasse. Sayer compared Barre to 

Belisarius : 

Rome's veteran fought her rebel foes 

And thrice her empire saved ; 

Vet through her streets, bow'd down with woes, 

An humble pittance craved. 

Our soldier fought a better fight, 
Political contention ; 
And grateful ministers requite 
His service with a pension. 

22 34. John Dunning was an attorney with a lucrative practice. He 
was counsel for Wilkes. In 1776 his practice is said to have been 
worth ;^io,ooo per annum. Shortly before his death he was promoted 
to the peerage as Baron Ashburton. 

While the Bill for Economical Reform was still pending " between 
the proposition and the execution " of Burke's plan. Lord Rockingham 
consented to grant the large pensions before mentioned to Lord Ash- 
burton and Barre. This last was above ten times the amount " which 
in Lord Rockingham's own judgment, as expressed in the new bill, 
ought henceforth to be granted to any one person whatsoever!" Lord 
Shelburne in the House of Peers produced a letter showing that the 
first proposal of this enormous pension had come from Lord Rocking- 
ham himself. This is the explanation of Burke's declaration : " I was 
thus left to support the grants of a name ever dear to me," etc. 

24 1. Parsimony is not economy. In 1780 Burke outlined his plan 
of economical reform : " WhUe enforcing the necessity of frugality, and 
recommending to the minister the old and valuable Roman apothegm, 
magnum vectigal est parsimonia, he made a false quantity, rendering the 
second word vectigal. Lord North in a low tone corrected the error, 
when the orator with his usual presence of mind, turned the mistake to 
advantage. ' The Noble Lord,' said he, ' hints that I have erred in the 
quantity of a principal word in my quotation ; I rejoice at it ; because 
it gives me an opportunity of repeating the inestimable adage,' and with 
increased energy he thundered forth — ' Magnum vect-i-gal est parsimo- 
nia ' " (Prior, " Life of Burke," p. 184). 

25 33. Sans-culottes : literally, " without breeches " ; the designa- 
tion of the poor Parisians, in dirty and negligent attire, who took part 
in the early stages of the Revolution. 



NOTES. 71 

26 6. Mr. John Thelwall (1764-1834) was a political agitator and 
intrepid democrat, who was tried with John -Home Tooke, the radical 
candidate for Westminster, and Thomas Hardy, the founder of the 
London Corresponding Society, for treason, and was acquitted, 1794. 
He was a lecturer on elocution. His poems were unfavorably reviewed 
by Francis Jeffrey in the Edinburgh Review, ii, 1 97, and Thelwall replied 
to the reviewer, — '*A Letter to Mr. Francis Jeffrey," Edinburgh, 1804. 

Coleridge knew him well, and characterized him as "intrepid, elo- 
quent, and honest." Coleridge showed him the romantic Alfoxden 
glen, and said, " Citizen John, this is a fine place to talk treason in ! " 
" Nay ! Citizen Samuel," he replied, " it is rather a place to make a 
man forget that there is any necessity for treason " ( Coleridge's 
"Table Talk," July 26, 1830). 

Thelwall published a reply to the " Letter to a Noble Lord," entitled 
" Sober Reflections on the Seditious and Inflammatory Letter of the 
Right Honorable Edmund Burke to a Noble Lord," London, 1796. 

26 12. Cludere ludum impudentiae jussit. " At nunc adulescentuli 
nostri deducuntur in scholas istoriim qui rhetores vocantur, quos paulo 
ante Ciceronis tempora extitisSe nee placuisse maioribus nostris ex eo 
manifestum est, quod Crasso et Domitio censoribus cludere, ut ait 
Cicero, ludum impudentiae jussi sunt" (Tacitus, " Dialogus de Ora- 
toribus," C. 35). 

" L. Licinius Crassus, the orator and C n. Domitius Ahenobarbus were 
censors in 92 B.C. This edict has also been preserved by Gellius and by 
Suetonius " (Alfred Gudeman, Ed. ' Tacitus,' 1894). 

Professor Gudeman also notes that the phrase ' ludum impudentiae ' 
is cited from " Cic. de orat.," iii, 24, 93 ff., when Crassus justifies his 
course in this affair at some length. 

Bohn translates the lines of Tacitus : " On the other hand our modern 
youth are sent to the mountebank schools of certain declaimers called 
rhetoricians ; a set of men who made their first appearance in Rome a 
little before the time of Cicero. And that they were by no means 
approved by our ancestors plainly appears from their being enjoined 
under the censorship of Crassus and Domitius to shut up their schools 
of impudence as Cicero expresses it." 

27 3. Homer sometimes nods. Horace, " Ars Poet.," 359. 

Quandoque bonus dormitat Homerus 
Verum operi longo fas est obrepere somnum. 

[Sometimes even the good Homer nods. But in so long a work it is allowable 
if there should be a drowsy interval or so.] 



72 A'OTES. 

27 8. " Tempest," IV, i, 157. 

We are such stuff 
As dreams are made on, and our little life 
Is rounded with a sleep. 

27 13. Leviathan: cf. Job xli, Isa. xxvii, i. 

Wend we by sea ? the drad Leviathan 
Turns upside-down the boyling ocean. 

Sylvestek, trans, of Du Bartas. 

That sea beast 
Leviathan, which God of all his works 
Created hugest that swim the ocean stream. 

" Paradise Lost," I, 201. 

27 16. " Lay floating many a rood," " Paradise Lost," bk. i, 196. 
The Duke of Bedford's friends sharply criticised this singular image of 
the whale. They declared Burke's description to be inaccurate, and 
" that the blubber and fins of a whale could not be correctly referred 
to as being visible while the ponderous, creature was supinely floating in 
the deep." Burke's friend Mrs. Crewe called upon Windham to estab- 
lish the accuracy of Burke's description ; whereupon Burke wrote to her: 
" As to you, you are in a worse situation than the dependants on insolent 
great ladies. They swallow nothing but toads, but you who play court 
to us scribblers must swallow whales, blubber and all. To a lady of 
Greenland, however, this would be no penalty, ^'ou were in the right 
to appeal to Windham. He is the only gentleman in England who 
ever was on a whale fishery. He knows how to stick a harpoon in 
their blubber better than any one. However, his stomach could not 
stand the blubber-ship, and he got on shore in Norway" ("Corre- 
spondence," vol. iv, p. 335). [Windham accompanied Mulgrave's 
Expedition to Greenland — Nelson was with the same fleet, a midship- 
man on the Carcass — but was taken sea-sick and landed in Norway. — 
Ed.] 

28 22. Herald's college, or college of arms, is a royal corporation 
instituted and endowed by Richard III, 1483. Its privileges were 
enlarged and confirmed by letters-patent, 1554. The college has an 
earl-marshal, three kings-at-arms (namely Garter, Clarencieux, and 
Norroy), six heralds (Richmond, Lancaster, Chester, Windsor, Somer- 
set, and York), four pursuivants, and two extra heralds. Its chief 
business is the granting of coats-of-arms and the tracing of genealogies. 
The earl-marshal of England, the eighth great officer of state, is the 
Duke of Norfolk. 



NOTES. 73 

28 24. The Garter King-at-arms is the principal king ; the other 
two are called provincial kings, — their duties being confined to the 
provinces, — ClarencieiDC, the second royal herald, officiating south of 
the Trent, and Norroy's jurisdiction lying to the north. The Claren- 
cieux was originally herald to the Duke of Clarence. Norroy is derived 
from nord, north, and roy, king. 

Rouge Dragon, one of the pursuivants of the herald's college, so 
called from the arms of Henry VII. The other three pursuivants are 
the Rouge Croix (from the red cross of St. George), Blue-Mantle (in 
allusion to the robes of the Order of the Garter), and the Portcullis (so 
called from his distinctive badge). 

28 28. Blazoner is a herald who explains the arms or bearings upon 
^ shield. 

28 32. Milk of human kindness. " Macbeth," I, v, i8. 

29 4. John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough (1650-1722), the victor 
of Blenheim. William Cecil, Lord Burleigh (1520-98), minister to 
Queen Elizabeth. William Murray, Earl of Mansfield (1705-93), the 
founder of English mercantile law. Philip Yorke, first Earl of Hard- 
wicke (1690-1764), "One of the greatest Judges that ever sat in West- 
minster Hall," says Lord Elden. 

29 7. John Guillim (1565-1621), Rouge-Croix pursuivant of arms 
(1617-21). He published and added to Barcham's "Display of 
Heraldry," London, i6io. 

Joseph Edmondson was appointed Mowbray-Herald Extraordinary in 
1764. He published several large volumes of heraldry and genealogy, 
notably "A Complete Body of Heraldry," 1780, 2 vols. ff. He died in 1786. 

Arthur Collins (1682-1760) compiled a "Peerage of England," ist 
ed., London, 1709, which was augmented and continued to 1812 by 
Sir Egerton Brydges. He compiled huge genealogical collections of 
the noble families of England. 

29 11. Aulnager, or ainager, a sworn ofificer appointed to examine 
and attest the measurement and quality of woolen goods (Murray). 

29 20. The first peer of the name. For the history of John Russell, 
see the Introduction. John Russell may have been " a person of an 
ancient gentleman's family"; but, although much labor has been ex- 
pended in tracing the pedigree, it still lacks historic proof. See J. H. 
Wiffen, " Historical Memoirs of the House of Russell," 2 vols., London, 
1833, and " The Great Governing Families of England," vol. ii, 
Edinburgh, 1865. 

32 9. Boulogne was taken by Henry VIII, Sept. 14, 1544, but re- 
stored for a consideration in 1 550. Calais was taken by the Duke of 



74 NOTES. 

Guise, Jan. 7, 1558. Queen Mary, who died November 17 of the 
same year, is reported to have said, "When I am dead Calais will be 
found written on my heart." 
32 32. Curses not loud but deep. " Macbeth," V, iii, 27. 

34 note. Fata Neroni : 

Quod si non aliam venture fata Neroni 

Invenere viam, magnoque aeterna parantur 

Regna Deis, caelumque sue servire Tonanti 

Non nisi saevorum potuit post bella gigantum ; 

Jam nihil, Superi, querimur : Scelera ipsa, ne fasque 

Hac merce.de placent. 

LucAN, " Pharsalia," i, 33. 

But if our Fates severely have decreed 

No way but this for Nero to succeed ; 

K only thus our Heroes can be Gods, 

And Earth must pay for their divine Abodes ; 

If Heav'n could not the Thunderer obtain, 

'Till Giants' Wars made room for Jove to reign, 

'T is just, ye Gods, nor ought we to complain. 

Nicholas Rowe's translatioQ, 1753. 

35 9. All unfortunate souls 

That trace him in his line. 

" Macbeth," IV, i, 153. 

35 23-32. The perfect melody, solemn cadences, and tear-compelling 
pathos of this passage — no whit undervalued to tried gold — place it 
among the masterpieces of prose construction. 

36 8. I am alone. " A calamity now overtook him of the most 
grievous as well as unexpected description, which all his religion and 
philosophy were in vain exerted to surmount, and which fell with ad- 
ditional weight from being so shortly preceded by the loss of his brother. 
This was the death of his son, Mr. Richard Burke, on the 2d of August, 
1794, at the early age of thirty-six" (Prior, " Life of Burke," p. 395). 
Burke's grief was extreme. His bodily powers rapidly declined. "He 
never afterwards could bear to look toward Beaconsfield Church, the 
place of interment ; nor was this beloved son for any length of time 
ever absent from his mind excepting when engaged in literary composi- 
tion, which therefore became rather a relief than labor " (Prior, p. 404). 

36 10. In this hard season. " There was no period of our history 
at which there was greater distress or greater difficulty and dismay than 
in 1795. ^^ ^'^^ period there was published by Mr. Burke, a gentle- 
man of no ordinary or doubtful authority, a book, every point and sen- 



NOTES. 75 

tence of which was questioned at the time, but the truth of which was 
subsequently most fully established " (Canning, " On Country Banks," 
Feb. 13, 1821). The work referred to was " Thoughts and Details on 
Scarcity," November, 1795. 

37 6. This ptescription. Burke's political philosophy rested upon 
Prescription as " the most solid of all titles, not only to property, but 
what is to secure that property, to government." Prescription is "ac- 
companied with another ground of authority in the constitution of the 
human mind. Presumption," that is, in favor of an established order. 

37 15. Novels. In civil law a novel is a new or supplemental con- 
stitution or decree ; one of the novel constitutions of certain Roman 
emperors, so called because they appeared after the authentic publica- 
tions of law made by these emperors ("Century"). The body of law 
called Justinian is formed of novels together with the institute, code, 
and digest. 

37 29. " Templum in modum arcis " : said by Tacitus (" Hist.," bk. v) 
of the temple at Jerusalem, — " The temple itself was in the nature of 
a citadel." 

37 31. Sion or Zion, the holy hill of Jerusalem, the center of 
Hebrew worship. Always written Sion by Milton and Burke. 

38 4. " The great Bedford Level, which comprises upwards of 
300,000 acres and extends into six counties, with its principal area in 
Cambridgeshire, is the largest tract of fen land in the kingdom. It is 
divided by the farmers into two parts — the marsh land and the fen land. 
By marsh lands are meant low tracts gained from the sea, either by the 
gradual silting up of estuaries, or by embankments artificially raised for 
the double purpose of encouraging reclamation by the process of warp- 
ing, and of protecting from the sea the lands enclosed within them. 
By fen land is meant land rich in alluvial deposit, reclaimed from its 
former state of moor and morass by drainage, by protection from the 
sea by means of banks, and by the embankment of its rivers. On the 
maps the great level of the Fens looks like an enlargement of the 
Wash ; in reality, it more closely resembles a sea of land lying 
between the Wash and the irregular coast-line which seems to be 
formed round it by highlands in Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridge, Hunts, 
Northampton, and Lincoln " (Duke of Bedford, " The Story of a great 
Agricultural Estate," p. 34). 

38 9. Frank-pledge, or frithborh : a Saxon pledge or surety for the 
good behavior of freemen ; specifically an early English system by which 
ten men, the members of each tithing (or decennary) composed of ten 
households, were associated in common responsibility for one another. 



76 NOTES. 

38 18. " iEneid," ix, 44S, 449, — " While the house of jEiieas shall 
occupy the immovable rock of the Capitol, and the Roman citizen 
shall bear sway." 

39 18. Ca ira, Fr., = " that shall go " ; these were the opening 
words of a popular song of the French Revolution. So Thackeray 
writes in the "Four Georges" of the "French Revolutionists whose 
ragged legions . . . are trampling down the old world to the tune of 
Qa ira." To those who in Paris came to lament with him over the 
misery of the American troops at Valley Forge, Benjamin Franklin 
cheerfully and happily replied, " <^a. ira, Qa ira" (it will all come right 
at last). These words were cherished in the memory of Frenchmen 
and made world-famous in the Revolution. 

39 19. Bedford House. The whole north side of Bloomsbury Square 
was formerly occupied by Southampton House, built after the designs 
of Inigo Jones by the Earl of Southampton. It changed its name to 
Bedford House upon the marriage of William Russell to Lady Rachael 
Wriothesley, coheiress of Thomas Wriothesley, last Earl of Southamp- 
ton. Lord William Russell passed this house on the way to the scaffold 
and was for a moment unmanned by the recollection of his domestic 
happiness. Recovering himself, he said, " The bitterness of death is now 
past." The house was destroyed in 1800. The old Bedford House 
Strand, on the site of the present Southampton Street, was pulled down 
in 1704. 

40 4. Nimrod. Burke's allusion is a twofold one, to Nimrod as 
" a mighty hunter before the Lord," and as the founder of Babel 
(Gen. X, 8-10). Milton in "Animadversions" writes: " Onr just 
parliament will deliver you from your Ephesian beasts, your cruel Nim- 
rods with whom we shall be ever fearless to encounter." 

41 1. Douce humaniW : human kindness. 
41 14. Mauvais plaisaut : a practical joker. 

41 30. 

And you all know, security 

Is mortal's chiefest enemy. 

" Macbeth," III, v, 32. 

42 22. Pretensions to literature : notice Burke's characteristic mod- 
esty. Cf. p. 21, 1. 14. 

43 6. Dephlegmated : refined ; rectified, as an acid or spirit. 
Defecated : unmixed, unmitigated, ^ — " The Penal colonies have been 

the seats of simple defecated crime " (Hare, " Guesses at Truth," vol. i, 
p. 92). 
43 9. " Compunctious visitings of Nature." " Macbeth," I, v, 46. 



NOTES. 77 

43 13. Prorogation. The figure is, of course, derived from the 
" prorogation " of Parliament. 

44 14. James Harrington (1611-77) was the author of " Oceana," a 
work on the theory of the state, in which after the fashion of the time 
he seeks to describe an ideal commonwealth — perfect and immortal — 
in the manner of Plato's "Republic " and Bacon's " New Atlantis " and 
More's " Utopia." Harrington's work was at first suppressed by order 
of Cromwell, but finally appeared in 1656 dedicated to the Protector. 
It exhibits a plan of republican government, with excessive admiration 
for the republic of Venice. Burke probably refers to it in this connection 
because of its recommendation of an agrarian law limiting the portion 
of land held by any one person to that yielding a revenue of ;^20oo. 

44 18. Emmanuel Joseph Sieyfes (1748-1836) received his educa- 
tion from the Jesuits, and was appointed Vicar-general by the Bishop 
of Chartres. He prepared a sensational thesis upon the Third Estate 
in which he constructed, single-handed and at once, a programme for 
the Revolution. In 1789 he was a representative to the States-general. 
In the Reign of Terror he abjured his priestly title and declared that he 
would have no religion but love of country and of man, and no worship 
but liberty and equality. His constitutional views made him invaluable 
to the Revolution and to Napoleon. "What Burke really taught — 
taught with effect, and was b6rne out in teaching by the events of his 
time — was the weakness of paper constitutions. He is the antidote to 
Sieyes " (Goldwin Smith). 

44 25. " Boue de Paris " : Paris mud. 

44 31. " Without breeches " : see Sans-culottes. 

45 11. The Constituent Assembly undertook to break up the old 
provinces and to divide France into Departments consisting of squares 
of equal size. Each Department was to be divided into nine districts 
upon the same mathematical principle. The re-division of France into 
Departments (the original proposition practically though not rigorously 
carried out) was completed in 1790. 

45 27. Inigo Jones was born about 1572. He studied art in Italy, 
visited Denmark, where he is said to have designed two palaces, and 
accompanied Anne of Denmark to England. He was architect to the 
Queen and designed the decorations for court masques. He introduced 
into England the Palladian style of architecture. After the Civil War 
he was obliged to pay heavy fines as a " malignant courtier." He 
died in poverty in 1651. 

"Covent Garden." Among the rewards of John Russell, Earl of 
Bedford, was the grant of Covent Garden (formerly Convent Garden) 



7S NOTES. 

and the Seven Acres (now called Long Acre). After the dissolution 
of the monasteries the " Garden of Westminster " was given by 
Edward VI to his uncle, the Lord Protector Somerset, after whose 
attainder it reverted to the crown, and then was granted to the Earl of 
Bedford. One of the buildings erected by Inigo Jones for Francis, 
fourth Earl of Bedford, was the church of St. Paul's, Covent Garden, 
destroyed by fire in 1795. -^ mansion close by was built for the Earl 
of Orford, another of the race of Russell, and who fought the battle of 
La Hogue (May 19, 1692). 

In Covent Garden were the celebrated coffee-houses ' Will's,' 
' Tom's,' and ' Button's.' Here, too, were the Covent Garden Theatre, 
built in 1732, and the Drury Lane Theatre, opened in 1663. 

45 30. Lixiviated : formed into lye. Latin, lixivium, lye. 

45 31. " Academie del Cimento " : a celebrated Florentine Academy 
founded in 1657 for the advancement of physical science, by Leopold 
de Medicis. In 1667 the academy published the results of experiments 
with projectiles. Here, of course, Burke is using the name antiphras- 
tically, Cimento being equivalent to cement (mortar). 

45 32. "Per antiplirasin " : by antiphrasis, a figure of speech by 
which words are used in a sense opposite to their proper meaning. 

Guyton de Morveau (1737-1816), a French chemist who had made 
studies in phlogiston and crystallization, and who about the time 
of the writing of this " Letter " was perfecting the processes for the 
manufacture of gunpowder and saltpetre. 

Jean Henri Hassenfrats (1755-1827), scientist and French revolu- 
tionist. He was a carpenter who developed an unusual aptitude 
for mathematics. He became an assistant to Lavoisier, in his labora- 
tory, participated in the Revolution as a Jacobin, and in 1786 was made 
professor in the School of Mines. His chief service was the reorganiza- 
tion of the military schools. In the Reign of Terror he provided the 
materials of war. 

46 8. Primary assembly : an assembly in which all the citizens 
have a right to be present and to speak, as distinguished from repre- 
sentative parliaments. 

National guard : an armed force identified with the French revo- 
lutionary epoch, first formed in 1789, and csX^eA. garde bourgeoise. 

46 9. Requisitioners : those who seize upon property for the use 
of an army or the public service. 

46 n. Domiciliary visitation is a visit to a private dwelling partic- 
ularly for the purpose of searching it or inspecting it, under authority, 
as in police supervision ("Century Diet."). 



NOTES. 79 

45 12. Assessors of the maximum : the Law of the Maximum, fix- 
ing a maximum price at which articles of prime necessity should be 
sold, was passed by the National Convention May 3, 1793. ^^ ^^^ 
actually put into operation in November, 1793, and was one of the 
principal means of enforcing the Reign of Terror. The scale fixed was 
too low to allow a profit, and the punishment of death was decreed, 
Sept. 29, 1793, for any violation of the law. Burke was therefore justi- 
fied in mentioning the Maximum side by side with the guillotine as an 
engine of the Terror. The law was repealed Dec. 24, 1794. 

47 11. Marquis de Condorcet, born in Picardy, 1743, was a many- 
sided intellect attracted to philosophy and literature and mathematics 
and social history. He was greatly admired by Turgot and Voltaire. 
He married the translator of Adam Smith's " Theory of Moral Senti- 
ments," a sister of Marshal Grouchy. He was an enthusiastic democrat, 
and wrote many pamphlets and planned many constitutions. He was 
one of the secretaries of the Legislative Assembly. He voted Louis 
XVI guilty of conspiring against liberty, but stopped short of the death 
penalty. In consequence of his denunciation of the arrest of the 
Girondists, he was accused of conspiring against the Republic. He 
was concealed for a while in the house of a Madam Bernet ; but 
wandered out, was captured, and committed suicide in prison. His 
essay, on the " Progress of the Human Spirit," was written while 
hiding from Robespierre. 

47 14. Apprentices in old English law were barristers of less than 
sixteen years' standing. Sergeants were lawyers of high rank appointed 
by writ or patent from the crown. 

47 18. " Look at that Tuileries and Tuileries Garden. Silent all 
as Sahara ; none entering save by ticket !• They shut their Gates, after 
the Day of the Black Breeches ; a thing they had the liberty to do. 
However, the National Assembly grumbled something about Terrace of 
the Feuillants, how said Terrace lay contiguous to the back entrance 
to their salle, and was partly National property ; and so now National 
Justice has stretched a Tricolor riband athwart it, by way of boundary- 
line, respected with splenetic strictness by all Patriots. It hangs there 
that Tricolor boundary-line; carries 'satirical inscriptions on cards,' 
generally in verse ; and all beyond this is called ' Coblentz,' and remains 
vacant ; silent as a fateful Golgotha ; sunshine and umbrage alternating 
on it in vain " (Carlyle, " French Revolution," vol. ii, p. 194). 

47 19. Canaille : literally, pack of hounds, used to signify a rabble, 
a low crowd, a mob. 

47 24. The title " Marquis of Tavistock " has existed in the Russell 



80 .VOTES. 

family since May ii, 1694, when William, the fifth Earl of Bedford, was 
raised to the dignities of Marquis of Tavistock and Duke of Bedford. 

47 34. Legendre, a mathematician of distinguished rank, born in 
1752, was one of the three members of the council established to intro- 
duce the decimal system, and he was a member of the commission 
appointed to determine the length of the meter. He assisted in the for- 
mation of the great French tables of logarithms of numbers, sines and 
tangents, and natural sines. He died at Paris, Jan. lo, 1833. 

48 3-14. One of the gravest faults of Burke's style is its occasional 
descent into the vulgar and unclean. He also holds his figures too 
long, and realizes them too completely. The quotation from Pope is 
apt, and in the application of it there is humor and there is telling force. 
But, not content with his success, Burke heaps upon it thegrossness of 
the shambles, and exhibits the ducal rumps, sirloins, and briskets, and 
inquires how the victim tallows in the cawl. It is lines like these that 
caused the Duke of Leeds to style the " Letter " " Billingsgate in 
buskins.'' 

48 7. Charing Cross : the heart of London, where anciently stood 
the village of Charing. 

48 15. Pope, " Essay on Man," I, 83. 

48 25. The portrait to which Burke refers was painted by Sir Joshua 
Reynolds. It is now in the National Gallery. After the court-martial 
Reynolds painted Keppel's portrait five times. 

48 32. Augustus Keppel, Viscount Keppel {1725-86), the uncle of 
the Duke of Bedford, entered the navy in 1735, "^^^ sent out as com- 
modore to the Mediterranean to treat with the Dey of Algiers, and in 
1754 to take command of the ships on the North American station. 
He attached himself to the*political party of the Marquis of Rock- 
ingham. In 1776, on the probability of war with France, "he was 
asked by the king in person to undertake the command of the Channel 
fleet." He was promoted to be admiral of the blue Jan. 29, 1778, and 
made commander-in-chief of the grand fleet March 22, 1778. He 
engaged the French fleet July 27, with results that caused him to be 
charged with not marshalling his fleet, going into the fight in an un- 
ofiicer-like manner, scandalous haste in quitting it, running away, and 
not pursuing the flying enemy, — each charge a capital offense. He 
was tried and the charge pronounced " malicious and ill-founded." 
The popular enthusiasm over the vindication of Keppel as " a judicious, 
brave, and experienced ofiicer " was so great that bonfires blazed, pub- 
licans painted Keppel's head on their signs, and rioters tore down the 
admiralty gates and smashed the windows of the ofiicial residences. 



NOTES. 81 

He died Oct. 2, 1786, unmarried, and the titles Viscount Keppel and 
Baron Elden became extinct. 

SO 18. The first Earl of Albemarle (grandfather of Lord Keppel) 
was Arnold Joost van Keppel, who was descended from Walter van 
Keppel, Lord of Keppel in the low countries. He came to England 
with William of Orange (1688) as a page of honor. 

50 25. 

We marry 
A gentle scion to the wildest stock. 

" Winter's Tale," IV, iv, 93. 

51 17. " Fools aspiring to be knaves." Pope, " Epi. to Sat.," 1, 164. 

52 2. Duke de la Rochefoucauld, known in his youth as Count de la 
R., and from 1767 to 1783 as Duke de Liancourt, was a. French pub- 
licist who was deputy to the assembly of notables in 1788, and to the 
States-general in 1789. He presided over the constituent assembly in 
the night of Aug. 4, 1789, when the abolition of titles of nobility was 
voted. 

52 3. Viscount de Noailles (1756-1804) was a brother-in-law of 
Lafayette. He fought in the American War. He was elected in 1789 
to the States-general and proposed the abolition of the privileges of 
the nobility. He presided over the constituent assembly in 1791. 

Charles Maurice Talleyrand de Perigord (1754-1838) entered the 
States-general as one of its leaders. He successfully urged the clergy 
to yield to the demands of the commons that the three estates should 
meet together. Although an Abbe and Bishop of Autun, he attacked 
the rights and privileges of the clergy, and proposed a scheme (Oct. 10, 
1789) by which the landed property of the'church should be confiscated 
by the state. He is therefore called by Burke " the false Perigord." 

53 1. Henri de la Tour d'Auvergne, Viscomte de Turenne (1611- 
75), a famous French general, who was created a marshal of France, 
May 16, 1643. 

Franpois Henri de Montmorency-Boutteville, Due de Luxembourg 
(1628-95), was made marshal of France in 1675. He was the comrade 
of the great Conde. 

Louis Franfois, Due de Bouflers (1644-1711), served under Turenne 
in Holland, and was raised to the rank of marshal of France in 1693. 

53 a. Jean Baptiste Colbert (1619-83) became in 1669 minister of 
commerce, the colonies, and the King's palace, and worked great finan- 
cial reforms in France. He established the French marine, naval and 
mercantile. 



82 JVOTES. 

53 3. Franfois Michel le Tellier, Marquis de Louvois (1641-91), 
was secretary of war, and organizer, after the peace of Aix la Chapelle, 
of the French army. 

The Lamoignons are a Nivernaise family with many noble branches, 
— the Basvilles, the Coursons, the Blancmesnils, and the Malesherbes. 
They have held their iief of Lamoignon since the thirteenth century. 
Guillaume de L. (1617-77) was advocate, counsellor, maitre des 
requites, and president of the Fronde parliament. His great work 
was the unification and coordination of the laws of France. His 
son Nicolas (1648-1724) was a distinguished lawyer and pupil of 
Colbert. 

53 4. Henri Franyois D'Aguesseau (1668-1751) was chancellor of 
France, and worked reforms in the execution of the laws that constitute 
an epoch in the history of French jurisprudence. His father was coun- 
cillor of state. 

S3 5. Charles Pichegru (1761-1804), commander-in-chief of the 
united armies of the Rhine and Moselle, conqueror of Holland, and a 
leader of the extreme revolutionary party. 

Jean Baptiste Jourdan (1762-1833), head of the army of Sambreet- 
Meuse (1794) and marshal of France. 

S3 6. Antoine Joseph Santerre (1752-1809), a French general and 
violent revolutionist. 

Barthelemi-Gabriel RoUand d'Erceville, a French magistrate, born 
in 1734, executed April 20, 1794, at Paris. He was president of the 
Chambre des requites. He was distinguished by his zealous prosecu- 
tion of the Jesuits, and contributed greatly to the destruction of their 
society. He was arrested during the Terror and condemned to death 
by the revolutionary tribunal. 

53 7. Antoine Joseph Gorsas, journalist and publicist, was born at 
Limoges, March 24, 1752, and guillotined at Paris, Oct. 7, 1793. He 
founded the " Courrier de Versailles," afterwards called " Courrier des 

83 departements " (July 5, 1789-June 2, 1793), °ns °f *6 most vociferous 
and vehement of the revolutionary journals, replete with anecdotes and 
picturesque details. He was elected to the National Convention for the 
department of Seine et Oise. He was an ardent partisan of Brissot. 

Jean Francois Reubell (or Rewbell), born at Colmar, Oct. 8, 1747; 
died at Colmar, Nov. 23, 1807. In 1789 he was chosen by the tiers 
itat as deputy to the States-general. In 1791 he was president of the 
National Assembly, and voted for the death of the King. 

Lazare Nicolas Marguerite Carnot (1753-1823) was returned to the 
National Assembly for the Pas de Calais in 1791, and he became a 



NOTES. 83 

member of the Committee of Public Safety under Robespierre. He pro- 
posed the seizure of the property of the church, and he proposed to 
arm 30,000 sans-culottes with pilces, and to destroy all the citadels in 
France, and voted for the overthrow of the nobility and the execution 
of the King. In 1795 ^^ became one of the five directors of the 
Republic, and projected a " Plan for the Invasion of England." He 
pronounced himself as " the irreconcilable enemy of kings." 

S3 8. Jean Lambert Tallien (1769-1820), the son of the cook of the 
Marquis de Bercy, was educated by the generosity of the Marquis, and 
became a lawyer's clerk. At the outbreak of the Revolution he en- 
tered a printing office, and in 1791 was overseer of the composing-room 
of the Moniteur. From January to May, 1791, he placarded twice a 
week upon all the walls of Paris a large poster called " Ami des Cito- 
yens." Aug. 10, 1792, he was appointed secretary to the revolutionary 
commune of Paris. He announced the massacres of September in the 
prisons. He was a vigorous Jacobin, defended Marat, voted for the 
execution of the King, and was elected a member of the Committee of 
General Security, Jan. 21, 1793. 

George Jacques Danton (1759-94), a great revolutionary leader, 
was a member of the Committee of Public Safety, and voted for the 
death of the King. 

S3 25. Great clerk ; see " Midsummer Night's Dream," V, i, 93. 

S3 27. Hugo Grotius (1583-1645) was born at Delft of afamily which 
had entered Holland from France, where it had been of noble history. 
He was a great jurist, and more thoroughly studied the principles of 
jurisprudence than any writer before him. 

53 33. Condorcet drafted an appeal to Holland in 1792. Burke 
errs in calling it an address to the " Batavian Republic," for the Repub- 
lic did not exist until after the death of Condorcet, when it was formed 
by Reubell and Sieyes, in the spring of 1795. ^^^ "^^ Revolution 
Fran9aise en HoUande " [Le Grand], Paris, 1894. 

54 7. Prince of Orange : William I of the Netherlands. 

S4 12. His bouse. William IH, King of England {1688), had been 
made by the Dutch Republic stadtholder of the Netherlands (1672). 

S4 22. Austrian Netherlands. The provinces originally called the 
Spanish Netherlands were ceded to Austria by the treaty of 17 13. They 
were conquered by France in 1794. 



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As You Li/ie It. 
The Tempest. 
King John. 
Richard the Second. 
Richard the Third. 



Henry the Fourth, Part //. 
Henry the Fifth. 
Henry the Eighth. 
Romeo and Juliet. 
Juiius Ccesar. 
Hamiet. 
King Lear. 



Macbeth. 

Antony and Cleopatra, 

Othello. 

Cymbeiine. 

Corlolanus. 

Twelfth Night. 

The Winter's Taie. 



C. T. Winchester, Professor of En^-- 
lish Literature^ Wesleyan University: 
• The notes and comments in the school 
edition are admirably fitted to the need of 
the student, removing his difficulties by 
stimulating his interest and quickening his 
perception. 



Hiram Corson, Professor of English 
L iterature, Cornell University : I con- 
sider them altogether excellent. The 
notes give all the aid needed for an under- 
standing of the text, without waste and 
distraction of the student's mind. The 
introductory matter to the several plays is 
especially worthy of approbation. 



IVe invite correspondence with all "who are interested in the 
study of Shakespeare in the class-room. 



GINN & COMPANY, Publishers, 

tSoston. New York. Chicago. Atlanta. Oaliai. 



THE HARVARD EDITION OF 

SHAKESPEARE'S COMPLETE WORKS 

By henry N. HUDSON, LL.D., 

Author of the "Life, Art, and Characters of Shakespeare,^^ 
Editor of '^School Shakespeare" etc. 

Id twenty volumes, duodecimo, two plays in each volume ; also in ten volumes, 
of four plays each. 

RETAIL PRICES: 

».vo.. edition {^'ojj^.ij; :«^|--| lo-voi. edition { ='°f„,-, ; • «»- 



The Harvard Edition has been undertaken and the plan of it 
shaped with a special view to making the Poet's pages pleasant and 
attractive to general readers. A history of each play is given in its 
appropriate volume. The plays are arranged in three distinct series : 
Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies ; and the plays of each series pre- 
sented, as nearly as may be, in the chronological order of the writing. 

A special merit of this edition is, that each volume has two sets of 
notes, — one mainly devoted to explaining the text, and placed at the 
foot of the page, the other mostly occupied with matters of textual 
comment and criticism, and printed at the end of each play. The 
edition is thus admirably suited to the uses both of the general reader 
and of the special student. 

Horace Howard Furness: A noble edition, with liappy mingle of illustration, 
explanation, and keen, subtle, sympathetic criticism. 

Professor Dowden : Hudson's edition takes its place beside the best work of 
English Shakespeare students. 

Professor C. T. Winchester : It seems to me, without question, the best edition 
now printed. 

Life, Art, and Characters of Shakespeare 

By HENRY N. HUDSON. 

In two volumes. 
i2mo. 1003 pages. Retail prices: cloth, $4.00; half calf, $8.00. 

Edwin Booth, the great actor and eminent Shakespearean scholar, 
once said that he received more real good from the original criticisms 
and suggestive comments as given by Dr. Hudson in these two books 
than from any other writer on Shakespeare. 



GINN & COMPANY, Publishers, 

Boston. New York. Chicago. Atlanta. Dallas. 



GAYLEY'S CLASSIC MYTHS 

THE OLABSIC UYIBS IK ENSLISK LrTEKATURE. 

Sued chiefly on Bulflncb's " Age of Fable " (1866). Accompanied by an 
Interpretative and Illuatrative Commentary. 

EDITED BY 

CHARLES MILLS GAYLEY, 

Professor of the English Languag-e atid Literature in the 
University of California. 



X2mo. Half leather. 540 pages. Fully illustrated, together with 16 full- 
page illustrations. For introduction, $1.50. 



Attention is called to these special features of this book : 

An introduction on the indebtedness of English poetry 
to the literature of fable ; and on methods of teaching 
mythology. 

An elementary account of myth-making and of the prin- 
cipal poets of mythology, and of the beginnings of the world,, 
of gods and of men among the Greeks. 

A thorough revision and systematization of Bulfinch's 
Stories of Gods and Heroes : with additional stories, and 
with selections from English poems based upon the myths. 

Illustrative cuts from Baumeister, Roscher, and othei 
standard authorities on mythology. 

Certain necessary modifications in Bulfinch's treatment of 
the mythology of nations other than the Greek and Roman. 

Notes, following the text (as in the school editions of 
Latin and Greek authors), containing an historical and 
interpretative commentary upon certain myths, supplemen- 
tary poetical citations, a list of the better known allusions 
to mythological fiction, references to works of art, and hints 
to teachers and students. 



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REFERENCE BOOKS ON POETRY 

A Book of Elizabethan Lyrics. Selected and edited by Professor 
Felix E. Schelling of the University of Pennsylvania. 
327 pages. List price, 75 cents; mailing price, 85 cents. 

Old English Ballads. Selected and edited by Professor F. B. Gummere 
of Haverford College. 380 pages. List price, 80 cents ; mailing 
price, 90 cents. 

Introduction to the Poetry of Robert Browning. By Professor William 
J. Alexander of the University College, Toronto. 212 pages. 
List price, ^i.oo ; mailing price, jSi.io. 

Hudson's Text-Book of Poetry. By Henry N. Hudson. Selections 
from Wordsworth, Coleridge, Burns, Beattie, Goldsmith, and 
Thomson. With Lives and Notes. Cloth. 704 pages. List 
price, $1.25 ; mailing price, jSi.40. 

Sidney's Defense of Poesy. Edited by Professor Albert S. Cook of 
Yale University. 103 pages. List price, 65 cents ; mailing price, 
75 cents. 

'Shelley's Defense of Poetry. Edited by Professor Albert S. Cook 
of Yale University. 86 pages. List price, 50 cents ; mailing 
price, 60 cents. 

Cardinal Newman's Essay on Poetry. With reference to Aristotle's 
Poetics. Edited by Professor Albert S. Cook of Yale Uni- 
versity. 36 pages. List price, 30 cents ; mailing price, 35 cents. 

The Art of Poetry. The Poetical Treatises of Horace, Vida, and 
Boileau, with the translations of Howes, Pitt, and Soame. Edited 
by Professor Albert S. Cook of Yale University. 303 pages. 
List price, ;Ji.i2 ; mailing price, S1.25. 

Addison's Criticisms on Paradise Lost. Edited by Professor Albert 
S. Cook of Yale University, xxiv + 200 pages. List price, 
jSi.ooj mailing price, ^i.io. 

What is Poetry? By Leigh Hunt. Edited by Professor Albert S. 
Cook of Yale University. 98 pages. List price, 50 cents ; 
mailing price, 60 cents. 

A Primer of English Verse. By Professor Hiram Corson of Cornell 
University. 232 pages. List price, jSi.oo; mailing price, Siio. 

A Hand-Book of Poetics. By Professor F. B. Gummere of Haverford 
College. 250 pages. List price, gi.oo; mailing price, ^i. 10. 

Characteristics of the English Poets. From Chaucer to Shirley. By 
William Minto. List price, $1.50; mailing price, jS 1.65. 



GINN & COMPANY Publishers 

Boston New York Chicago San Francisco 

Atlanta Dallas Columbus London 



THE NEW CENTURY SPEAKER 



SELECTED AND ADAPTED BY 



HENRY ALLYN FRINK, 
JLate Professor of Lo^ic^ Rhetoric, and Ptthlic Speaking in A mhersi College. 



xztno. Cloth. 346 pages. For introduction, $1.00. 



This is a fresh and notably interesting collection of 
prose selections suitable for use as declamations. The 
trite and hackneyed pieces that have worn themselves 
threadbare in public service are omitted. We have 
instead extracts from the greatest speeches- of such men 
as Heniy W. Grady, Henry Cabot Lodge, Chauncey 
M. ' Depew, Charles H. Parkhurst, James G. Blaine,, 
James A. Garfield, George William Curtis, Henry Ward 
Beecher, Joseph Parker, and others who represent the 
best in modern oratory. The selections have been 
tested in the author's rhetorical exercises, and each 
possesses directness, force, and effectiveness. 

Part I. consists of " drill pieces '' for the development 
of power to gain and hold the attention of an audience 
and later to persuade or convince it. The acquisition of 
this ability, which so determines the success or failure 
of a public speaker, is the main thought of the book. 

In Part H. the leading orators are represented by a 
group of selections which so fully illustrate each orator's 
scope, method, and characteristics that the book will 
prove useful in the study of American oratory during the 
latter part of this century. The selections are brief, few 
of them requiring more than five minutes for delivery. 



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Atlanta. Dallas. Columbus. London. 



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